Testia Experts: Rob Bilney about NDT training for a changing industry

In our article series “Testia Experts”, we present short interviews with our employees – the experts that really make Testia what it is. In this issue, we have a chat with Rob Bilney, NDT Trainer at Testia in Bristol, UK.

Rob BilneyRob, could you briefly describe your job at Testia and your career path?

I carry out training and examination in the five main NDT disciplines along with laser shearography under the Testia UK banner, whilst ensuring the smooth running and quality of UK training. This has involved training abroad in France, Poland and Qatar so far this year.

I joined the Testia team in July 2018, leaving my role as a primary school teacher in Wales, but with a background of 25 Years in the Royal Air Force, as an engines and airframe engineer, including eleven years in NDT. My teaching experience has included surfing, NDT and resistance to interrogation, I hold a PGCE and a psychology degree, so I have a good understanding of what good training should look like and its associated human factors.

What would you say is unique about Testia’s training centres?

The USP of our NDT training school is that although we have the foundations of Airbus, including its extensive experience and standards of excellence, we train and provide services for a diverse range of Non-Airbus companies reaching beyond the aviation sector, for example NDT on weapons testing.

My own philosophy is that by successfully developing and prioritising relationships within the training environment, student’s needs and learning styles are acknowledged, met, and the best quality training is delivered.

As an NDT trainer you meet participants from many different industry sectors – are there certain trends that change their way of work? And what do you expect for the future of NDT training?

I think our greatest challenge is that NDT becomes routinely integrated into design through liaison and cooperation at an early stage. That way, NDT is integral to the process and not seen, as often quoted by my students, as a blockage to production, an inconvenience or an afterthought.

We need to embrace change as an industry and implement those changes more quickly, retain experience so we have the bravery to remove out-dated and inefficient practices and embrace new ones with confidence. Finally, we need to be recognised for our worth to the engineering industry and the quality and skills we bring to the table.

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