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Johan refreshing his PAUT certification

Tue, 27 October, 2020

Johan came to TWI to renew his PAUT certificate for the 10th year and we sat and talked about his career path.

Johan has been working for 16 years as NDT inspector. Around 2002 he graduated from University Technology Mara and he heard about working in NDT from one of his friends. So, he started taking courses to get certified in ultrasonic testing (UT) and radiographic interpretation (RI).  The first job he landed was in Brunei before he moved to work in Singapore and eventually decided to move back to Malaysia.

As he progressed through his career, to complement his knowledge of NDT, he attended the CSWIP welding inspector training at TWI and became certified. With more years of experience on his C.V., Johan added the advanced methods of NDT, such as phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) and time of flight diffraction (ToFD), to his qualifications.

As to why he decided to get a welding inspector certificate, Johan explained, “In NDT inspection, you get the end product for inspection. However, you also need to know the root cause of the defect and where it started. The welding inspection course covers the procedures from before the weld, during and after the weld. Therefore it gives you a holistic view and understanding of the subject.”

Typically, NDT is applied during or at the end of the fabrication process. By having a sound understanding of the full process and the root causes, an inspector can get a better result from the inspection.

Johan believes that anybody who is an inspector should always know the reason for a defect and why it is created. If an inspector only relies on the knowledge of NDT, his understanding will be very narrow.

Johan explains that having only the UT knowledge, inspectors would face some limitations in terms of performing the tasks and delivery of the findings. But PAUT and ToFD can give you the ability to share the data of your findings with your colleagues and compare the results with the reports gathered from other techniques such as radiographic interpretation (RI) and ultrasonic testing (UT). So, by putting the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods next to each other, you can complement the findings and come up with the best solutions for your clients.

ToFD, as a supplementary certificate to PAUT, is always demanded by the industry. This method gives a very precise measurement of the crack. In some particular projects, such as pressure vessel projects, it is a very critical knowledge to have as the inspectors are dealing with high-risk equipment. So, to secure the safety and extend the in-service duration of the equipment, precision inspection methods can play a critical role.

In the competitive job market, employers are always looking for people with multiple skills who can multi-task. So, in order to be on top of the game, you always need to keep yourself up to date with the market trends and have the skillset that is demanded, Johan says. He believes that there are some common qualifications for someone who wants to pursue a successful career in NDT. Welding inspection and painting inspection are good qualifications for someone who wants to start a career in this field. These will give you a holistic view and deeper understanding of the inspection process. Holding basic conventional NDT certificates should come as supplementary to CSWIP a welding inspector qualification. Ultrasonic testing is another very important skill, which can be taken as a core skill to build upon to lead to the advanced NDT skills of phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT), time of flight diffraction (ToFD), and long range UT (LRUT) qualifications, which are all supplementary to each other.

What interests Johan about this line of work is that, in order to gain the necessary skills that can land you a position in the industry, you don’t have to spend years in academic study to gain a degree. The short term courses in the technical and vocational training route makes the process of learning a skill and finding a job that can utilise those skills very straightforward and quick. On the other hand, you can always build up your knowledge and progress further in what you are doing. The long term prospect for someone who wishes to excel in their career is very good and you can grow within your job.

Johan, who is now doing his refresher training for PAUT, finds TWI’s facilities very welcoming and the equipment exactly the same as that which he uses on projects, which is a positive factor for his training needs. He appreciates that the lecturers are very well versed on the subject matter and that they can help him with the cases that he faces on site as well.

Johan finds the opportunities in NDT very wide and the path for growth is dependent on each individual and their goals. The certificates, being globally recognised, give the inspectors the choice to work overseas or in different industry sectors. “The market is very big and the opportunities are diverse. It all goes back to how you target the jobs and market yourself”, says Johan. Not being stuck in one place is a very good advantage as you can travel and work in different countries, work with people from different backgrounds and learning from other cultures is an added bonus that not only can make your career more interesting but also widen your knowledge and views.

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