The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) has successfully conducted Personnel Certification in Non-Destructive Testing (PCN) exams ‘online’ for the first time. The launch took place on 28 June 2019 at IMechE Argyll Ruane’s examination centre in Sheffield and was supervised by Arthur Jones, Examinations and Project Coordinator, BINDT, and John Moody, Senior Technical Engineer, BINDT.

The PCN Scheme is operated by BINDT for the certification of proficiency of NDT and condition monitoring (CM) operators. Technicians and engineers practicing NDT and CM play a very important role in the NDT quality chain in order to maximize the reliability of inspections. The purpose of achieving PCN certification is to provide assurances of independence, impartiality and conformity to international standards of proficiency in NDT and CM. The PCN Scheme has built an excellent reputation over the many years it has operated and it has been adopted in countries all over the world.

In attendance at the launch was Craig Hobson, Chief Examiner, IMechE Argyll Ruane, who commented: “Although for a period of time candidates still have a choice between laptops and paper, we are hoping that all PCN theory papers will be attempted online by the end of September. The PCN staff that were present were delighted that everything went as well as it did and the initial feedback from the students has also been very positive.”

BINDT believes that the launch of online examinations will help to protect the quality and robustness of the PCN Scheme. The benefits include: • All questions will have been reviewed and referenced to the syllabus; • The content will be the same on all examination papers; • Each paper will have the same syllabus coverage; • Candidates will train to the syllabus, not train to pass the paper; • Identical papers will have the same questions but they will appear in a different order; • Authorized Qualifying Bodies (AQBs) will have no prior knowledge of the paper or its con-tent; • Tightened security; • Remote invigilation; and • Instant marking: the AQB will not be able to change any grades or marks.

Jennifer Cook, Certification Services Department (CSD) Office Manager, BINDT, said: “The Institute is extremely pleased with the success of the first live online examinations. The project has been a great learning curve for BINDT and it has developed remarkably following the addition of Arthur Jones to the team. I would like to give special thanks to Craig Hobson and Melissa-Louise Branston of IMechE Argyll Ruane and Victor Kinderys from Calibrand for all of their support and dedication to assisting with this project. We believe this is an improvement to the PCN Scheme that will strengthen examination content and security.”

The online examinations launch included the following four methods: magnetic testing, penetrant testing, radiographic testing and ultrasonic testing. Additional methods and AQBs will join the online system in a phased transition.

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