Raising the profile of our industry
by Cameron Sinclair, CEO, BINDT
Past surveys of BINDT members have highlighted a concern amongst members that there is a lack of understanding of NDT and condition monitoring (CM) by the general public. To address this issue, BINDT is undertaking a number of actions around engagement, to connect with more people in and out of the industry, and marketing, to understand our stakeholders better and promote our industry. In short, BINDT has a strategy to raise our profile.
What better place to go than to the heart of the UK Government? In January, led by BINDT’s President, Steve Lavender, a delegation from BINDT travelled to Westminster to meet with a group of MPs, including Angela Smith (Steve’s MP) and Adrian Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West and Chair of the highly-relevant Commons Select Committee for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The delegation comprised the following BINDT Members, who spoke authoritatively about all aspects of the industry: Steve Lavender, Wayne Woodhead, Karl Quirk, Alan Hunscott, Steve Dixon, Jon Biddulph and Cameron Sinclair. The message to the MPs was clear: NDT and CM are crucial to underpinning and sustaining high-value manufacturing and infrastructure integrity management in the UK. The conclusion that the MPs came to was also very clear: in Adrian Bailey’s words, NDT and CM are contributing to “driving British excellence” and providing “leadership in the world”.
The discussions highlighted two specific issues that the Government might be able to help BINDT address: the difficulty in transferring new technology from the development stage to full commercialisation and there being enough suitably qualified and experienced people to meet future demand for products and services. There is evidence that the NDT/CM industry will need to recruit several thousand people over the next decade, in competition with all other branches of engineering.
Of course, the MPs had no ‘silver bullets’, but they were able to provide very useful advice on how to proceed, including what sort of information to have when engaging with politicians, what sources of funding might be available and how to further raise our profile in Parliament. There is a very simple way in which you can help: as BINDT intends to do, invite your local MP to visit your workplace and tell them about the great work you do.