Inspiring Apprentices become role models for NDT at ‘Bridging the Skills Gap’
May 20th, 2019
Non-Destructive Testing Apprentices and employers who are already embracing the benefits of new NDT Apprenticeships have spoken passionately to inspire other employers at the ‘Bridging the Skills Gap’ forum held on 15th May.
The forum took place at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre in Coventry and was co-hosted by Skills Training UK with the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) and the specialist NDT training schools: TWI, ImechE Argyll Ruane, Lavender International, South West School of NDT and the University of Northampton.
Non-Destructive Testing is critical to industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, oil and gas and other STEM sectors, but technological advances and ageing workforces have created massive skills gaps which pose a real threat to industry which is why BINDT and the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme developed and launched new NDT Apprenticeships.
The Apprenticeships in Level 2 NDT Operator, Level 3 NDT Engineering Technician and Level 6 NDT Engineer offered by Skills Training UK, who worked closely with BINDT in their development, have opened up many new opportunities for both light and heavy engineering and manufacturing sectors to bridge their skills gaps. They provide structured training and development which is relevant to each industry and the skills they need.
Roger Lyon, Project Manager – Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme and Chair of the Education and Development Committee, BINDT, said at the Forum events: “The NDT Apprenticeships are designed to be very focused on any area. If you are a levy payer, then taking them up is the only way of getting your money back, and if you don’t pay the levy, then you only pay 5% of the cost. It’s a really good deal and they have opened up opportunities which industries like aerospace, automotive and energy have never seen before.”
Gary Linford, an NDT Apprentice at Responsive NDT, who did ‘A’ levels but didn’t want to go to University, has become an ambassador for Apprenticeships, with activities which include helping students at a local school with a robot building project. He said: “My experience of the Apprenticeship has been very good and I would encourage anyone to do it. I didn’t even know about NDT before I started but love it and I love the job. I can’t preach enough about it.”
Lee Grears, Managing Director at Responsive NDT, has 12 employees, four of which are doing Apprenticeships in NDT with Skills Training UK, said: “Our Apprentices are a key part of our business. As a small business we pay only 5% and the value of the training we are getting for our team overall is over £100,000. We need to shout about the changes which are happening with these new Apprenticeships which are helping develop new skills.”
Sam Cunningham, Materials Testing and NDT Manager, Skills Training UK, said: “Skills Training UK manages these Apprenticeships as the lead provider and each of the specialist training partners offer something different by way of technical training in NDT methods, which means that whatever industry you are in, the Apprenticeships in Non-Destructive Testing provide the best opportunity to invest in your workforce and help bridge the skills gaps.”
Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive, Skills Training UK, gave the official welcome to guests at the events and said Skills Training UK was “absolutely delighted” with the level of collaboration with the partner training schools. Other speakers were Jack Sharkey and Andrzej Zubcqyk, NDT Engineer Apprentices at Rolls Royce; Christian Beever, NDT Engineering Technician Apprentice at Argyll Ruane IMechE and Steve Meikle, Inspection Group Strategic Improvement lead at EDF Energy, who have employed an NDT Engineer Apprentice.
See more information about our NDT Apprenticeship programmes.