Apprentice achieves Level 6 NDT Engineer Degree15 July 2020

Robert Jackson (pictured), a sub-contracted supervisor at a Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) services supplier IRISNDT, has reportedly become the first graduate of the degree level apprenticeship in NDT, which was introduced in 2018 by Skills Training UK in partnership with the University of Northampton.

The Level 6 NDT Engineer Apprenticeship was developed for STEM employers to help them tackle growing skills gaps by enabling senior NDT professionals to gain high-level skills and professional recognition.

Robert’s apprenticeship was managed by Skills Training UK, with the training delivered through both on and off-the-job training, coaching and mentoring. The University of Northampton provided e-learning, while Level 3 NDT training and examinations were provided by Skills Training UK’s specialist NDT partner Argyll Ruane (IMechE).

Stephen Crawley, COO at Skills Training UK, says: “We know from our work within the sector that the NDT community has an ageing workforce and that there is a growing skills gap. Robert is a shining example of how employers can use their Apprenticeship Levy to tackle some of these challenges and how the programme can be flexible depending on the experience of the individual. We hope that this inspires more employers to develop their workforce and inspire the next generation of NDT specialists.”

Abdeldjalil Bennecer, senior lecturer in Engineering at the University of Northampton, adds: “Robert has demonstrated that he is not only able to produce academic work consistently to a high standard but also to combine this with his work commitments whilst meeting the requirements set out in the higher degree apprenticeship standard. The BSc NDT, which we developed in partnership with Skills Training UK, is a unique and specialised provision by the University of Northampton in the field of NDT and is approved by the British Institute of Non Destructive Testing (BINDT).”

IRISNDT currently has eight employees completing NDT apprenticeships. Thirty-one-year-old Robert, who has worked at IRISNDT for 13 years, enrolled on to the NDT Engineer Apprenticeship after previously completing his NDT Foundation Degree course, allowing him to fast-track and go straight onto the BSc top-up and complete the BSc Degree Level 6 in just 16 months.

He says: “After completing the Foundation Degree NDT course, I knew that the BSc Degree level was the next step for me to expand on my existing knowledge and apply it through supervising and managing others. The tutors and trainers at Skills Training UK, the University of Northampton and Argyll Ruane (IMechE) have been great and the course has been hugely beneficial to my career development. I’ve not only built on my existing knowledge of testing methods, but I have also had the opportunity to become certified as IEng within the Engineering Council.”

John Moody, senior technical manager at BINDT, adds: “On behalf of the BINDT we would like to congratulate Robert for leading the way in being the first to achieve the BSc, and we hope that his success will inspire others to get involved in what is truly a unique offering.”

Skills Training UK are currently enrolling employees to start the Level 6 NDT Engineer Degree Apprenticeship this September and there is an alternative start date in January. The Degree normally takes around three years but, dependent upon prior experience and qualifications, may take less time. Prior to enrolment, Skills Training UK will develop and agree the individual training plan with each apprentice.

Adam Offord

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