Having risen through the ranks from Trainee to Branch Manager, Joe Morgan, aged 31 from Burton-on-Trent, was keen to develop a new training programme for staff within Applied Inspection, a leading Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) company.
Implementing this training strategy, Applied Inspection approached leading NDT Apprenticeship provider Skills Training UK and the University of Northampton about the Level 6 NDT Engineer Degree Apprenticeship.
Joe said, “While we have had previous managers complete an NDT degree, this Degree Apprenticeship offered a much faster route to get the skills and industry-leading qualifications for staff and was also made highly affordable with financial incentives – meaning it can be embraced as an ongoing part of our workforce strategy.”
After fulfilling their Apprenticeship Levy spend, Applied Inspection used the Government’s co-investment option to secure 95% of the Apprenticeship fees, paying the remining 5% themselves. Joe and his colleague Nathan Bate, Technical Manager, found huge benefit in sharing the degree apprenticeship experience, leaning on each other for support to fit in usual work responsibilities as well as hitting the degree deadlines.
With the majority of the NDT Engineer Degree Apprenticeship delivered through the University of Northampton’s online learning hub, Nathan said, “Distance learning has been great. Not needing to attend the university at scheduled times has made the process more flexible so we can fit in studying around work and life commitments and keep on top of. Everything is laid out in learning packages so there’s access to the materials we need, and we can stay on track.”
I didn’t want to ever reach the level where I’m content and stagnant and not going anywhere. It’s hard work and it’s something to be proud of.
Since moving into a management role, Joe sees the Apprenticeship as a way of continuing his own professional journey, praising the networking opportunities and wider organizational skills learnt along the way.
As part of the Apprenticeship, Nathan has also achieved a coveted PCN Level 3 industry certification in Ultrasonic Testing of Forgings.
Nathan said, “Achieving that PCN level 3 is excellent, without this apprenticeship we wouldn’t necessarily get this opportunity to study to that level. To achieve a PCN Level 3 in NDT can cost in the region of £2000, so not all companies are going to be able to justify that outlay. This route allows continuing professional development and a chance to upskill that’s fully funded, so it’s brilliant for the guys on the course and manageable for your employer.”
Upon completion of the Apprenticeship, Joe and Nathan will also have the opportunity to register as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng), a significant accreditation within the industry. Joe said: “I want to progress to the highest level I possibly can and I would like to reach managing director level one day, ultimately to help people progress through in the same way I have, and to bring people into the industry. The degree helps you stand out in the industry gives you that something extra to your name.”
In the short-term, the degree Apprenticeship adds a rewarding element on top of the managers’ day jobs, but longer-term, it can provide a strong return on investment resulting in a highly competent workforce with the NDT qualifications to match.