Non-destructive testing (NDT) specialists are crucial to the safety of the aerospace, oil and gas industries. Until recently, 60 per cent of workers were aged 60 and above, with just 13 per cent of workers being under the age of 40. It was a skills gap that urgently needed addressing. And that’s what Skills Training UK did.
The training provider worked with the British Institute of Non- Destructive Testing to understand the market and established three new apprenticeships: level 2 NDT operator, level 3 NDT engineering technician and – in partnership with the University of Northampton – a level 6 NDT engineer degree apprenticeship.
Skills Training UK is now the largest NDT apprentice provider in the UK, and currently has 174 apprentices in training at 74 companies. Some 60 per cent of these apprentices are aged 16-24.
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It established contracts with six specialised training schools to deliver the technical method training. The provider has also opened a materials testing office in Sheffield next to an advanced manufacturing park and within close proximity of three training school partners.
The judges praised Skills Training UK’s innovative approach and said that the provider had responded to a particular need across a number of industries. “The programme is totally employer focused and is very specific,” they said. “It works together with sector bodies, local authorities and colleges in the region. As a result, the quality of apprenticeships is excellent. It’s clear to see it’s had a real impact right across the country.”