Meet the Team
This month we meet Luke Swords, one of the NDT technicians at the Brookes Bell Lab on the outskirts of Liverpool, UK.
What does your day job entail?
My current role is Advanced NDT technician, the role is primarily inspection site-based work, but my day-to-day office roles include working with NDT procedures, written instructions, training with our NDT apprentices, maintaining our equipment and regular meetings about up and coming projects with client liaison. The site-based side of the role is utilising our advanced NDT technologies to offer industry leading techniques to evaluate materials, components, structures or various systems for characteristic differences or welding defects and discontinuities without causing damage to the original parts. The techniques are applied across a range of industries including, marine, oil & gas, petro-chemical and nuclear.
And how did you get here?
I’ve worked in the NDT industry since 2006 (I don’t know where 16 years have gone!), I started off as an apprentice at a company called Innospection based in Rugby and Aberdeen offering Advanced Electromagnetic inspection techniques. I worked in this role for 13 years travelling to all four corners of the globe working onshore/offshore, topside/subsea in a range of industries working on bespoke projects for notoriously difficult areas to inspect for example subsea platform jackets and seabed piping. I gained my Eddy Current and Ultrasonic NDT tickets during my time here. My next role was with Mistras joining an inspection team working on the Gade Valley M25 bridge strengthening project. The bridge was over life cycle and a strengthening package was created to extend its life. We mostly used conventional NDT techniques utilising magnetic particle inspection, ultrasonic inspection, eddy current inspection & visual inspection. I took over as the site supervisor after six months on the project and had two years until successful completion of the project with a great team. This leads me onto Brookes Bell where the story is just beginning to write itself!
What do you find most rewarding about the job?
I joined the department at a critical stage of its growth, and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of building something that really is going to be something special! I’ve been involved in creating the documentation and practical physical studies we’ve set up to acquire Lloyd’s Register accreditation to take our PECA CMap technologies to commercial and naval shipping industries. The team has a really good comradery, and everyone is working hard together to achieve our goals as a department.
And what is the most challenging?
As you would expect, being part of a new and fast-growing department is extremely challenging.
Any advice to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
I think the ideal route into an NDT career is through an apprenticeship scheme like we are offering here at Brookes Bell. Pull on the surrounding expert’s knowledge and immerse yourself in learning the NDT techniques. Prepare to travel globally and always have a bag packed ready to mobilise at a moment’s notice, it’s all part of the fun.
And away from the office – what do you like to do?
When I’m not in the office or travelling you’ll probably find me on a golf course (had my first hole-in-one this year in Spain!), on a football pitch (veterans these days) or watching the Champions at the Etihad. I’ve been a season ticket holder at Man City for 15 years (before the money!)
- Luke Swords