Partnership supports skills training for safer workplaces and environment

Published on March 04, 2020

EDMONTON – Thanks to a partnership with IR Supplies and Services, NAIT has received a gift-in-kind donation to support continuing education and examination in non-destructive testing. The donation includes 14 ultrasonic digital flaw detector units and software to train and test NDT technicians. The equipment is housed in the Productivity and Innovation Centre on Main Campus.

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is critical to keeping a people safe in a wide array of industries. It also has an equally important role in preventing incidents with environmental impact, such as oil and gas pipeline leaks.

NDT technicians are responsible for testing, inspecting and monitoring the condition and integrity of products, materials and structures. The use of ultrasonic equipment provides a quick and safe method for technicians within industry.

According to NAIT instructor Don Thompson, ultrasonic testing is no more dangerous than using a pocket calculator since it relies primarily on high frequency sound waves to explore, find and signal the location, size and other features of imperfections, such as cracks or corrosion.

Safer environment through innovation

Robert Muschket, co-owner of IR Supplies and Services, says he was eager to partner with NAIT to support the future of NDT, an industry he’s been part of for over 30 years. He and co-owner Brian Sargent founded the company in 2004.

 “We saw better solutions and knew there were innovations that would create a safer, more productive environment. That was the backbone of our business,” Muschket says. “Now we see the shifting demographic with the next generation getting ready to enter into the industry.  We want to support them with great technology that will help them succeed.”

IR Supplies and Services co-owner Brian Sargent agrees that their donation is as much about giving back to the NDT industry as is about supporting NAIT.

“I look at our continuing partnership at NAIT as only a part of our commitment with the broader NDT industry,” says Sargent. “It has always been our goal to lead by example: though innovation and consultation with vendors, our superior support and service, and now with our backing of materials and equipment to NAIT.”  

NAIT currently offers 2 continuing education courses – Ultrasonic Inspection Level I and Ultrasonic Inspection Level II – that benefits from the donation. According to Thompson, these courses currently operate at capacity and are in high demand.

“NDT doesn’t have downtime as these technicians are involved in various industries – and at every level, from new construction to maintenance,” Thompson says.

“Schools such as NAIT have invested greatly in their programs, which allow students to receive excellent training in Canada.”

Since 2013, 459 technicians have completed their certificates. Certified professionals work in quality assurance or control, inspecting parts and materials, for example, on pipelines, aerospace, chemical and power plants, bridges, roadways and many other industrial job sites.

“IR Supplies and Services commits to supporting local training institutions to help expand the NDT industry across Canada,” says Robbie VanHoek, the company’s managing director of business development. “Schools such as NAIT have invested greatly in their programs, which allow students to receive excellent training in Canada.” 

NDT certification is governed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and inspectors are expected to keep their skills current with new technologies and equipment.  Their work keeps people and the surrounding environment safe, signifying the need for investment in ongoing hands-on training and certification.

NAIT is a Recognized Training Organization and Authorized Examination Centre by NRCan. On average, 4 to 5 NDT technicians each day use the donated ultrasonic equipment to complete their certification.

“The equipment donated has a direct impact on our students and on our test centre clients by exposing them to equipment they will see when working and contributing to Alberta’s workforce,” says Brock Olive, director of continuing education. “Our partnership with IR serves as an example for how essential it is to maintain strong connections between NAIT and industry.”

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads help fuel the economic engine of the province. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping businesses and communities become more competitive through industry-driven applied research and corporate training. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, industry partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

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