Steven Gunn, 28, has built a career out of following his interests, from snowboarding in the mountains of Japan, to inspecting offshore assets in the North Sea. His enthusiasm to further his career in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) earned him an award from the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing.
What does your job involve?
I’m mainly involved with the Advanced Non-Destructive Testing inspection work scopes, but every day is different.
Our job is to determine if a component or system is showing signs of degradation and is suitable for continued use. Testing using NDT enables condition and deterioration of components to be monitored, allowing intervention prior to component or system failure.
One day I could be reviewing procedures and the next day I could be offshore, working on ropes carrying out inspections.
When I'm offshore scopes vary massively - I've been offshore for two days, and also for 25 days! Working on ropes is great - I used to do a bit of rock climbing so I wasn't intimidated by it at all, and it's invaluable to us as inspection engineers as we get to see parts of a platform that are mostly unseen.
It’s genuinely interesting and I have a great mix of office, workshop and onsite based jobs to do.
What does your career path look like?
I have always been interested in NDT and enjoyed problem solving, and managed to find myself in a job where I get to do both.
When I left school, I took on jobs as a storeman dealing with oil and gas equipment and this was where I was first exposed to inspection and Advanced NDT. During this time I completed an HNC (Higher National Certificate) and HND (Higher National Diploma) in Mechanical Engineering through night classes.
I then joined Bilfinger as a maintenance coordinator, and was able to transfer into the inspection department as an equipment focal point which gave me lots of hands on experience with the inspection technology and kit.
At that time Bilfinger was expanding their Advanced NDT Rapid Response Team, and I got to spend a lot of time working alongside these experienced guys and learning a lot from them. The more I learned, the more I was sure that I wanted to pursue a career in inspection offshore.
After two years as an equipment focal point, I was given the opportunity to begin my career as a trainee inspection engineer and get more exposure to practical NDT. I was given hands-on experience, servicing equipment, sourcing alternatives and engaging with technology partners to find solutions for industry challenges. I think this role has made me appreciate that Bilfinger are rightly recognised for the quality of our work. Everything is done right and to a high standard.
In the past 12 months, I've achieved my Rope Access Level 1 Certificate, PCN L2 UT and EC qualification.
I'm now studying for a degree in Non-Destructive Testing to progress my career further.
What's your career highlight?
I was recently awarded the BINDT Bob service award. The Award is presented by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing to an individual at an early stage of their NDT careers who has done something exceptional in terms of performance, innovation, attitude or motivation.
The British Institute of NDT is the professional institute for all those engaged in non-destructive testing and condition monitoring. It is concerned with the education and training of its members, and the advancement of the science and practice of the subjects.
I really appreciate all the support I have received throughout my time at Bilfinger. We have a great team who constantly push for the best in all areas and I have learned a lot from everyone here.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
- I think I changed my mind every time someone asked, so I'm glad I've found a career I like!
What’s your favourite pastime?
- Snowboarding. I don't get to do it as much as I would like but I normally get away to the Alps for a week each year.
What's your greatest achievement?
- Completing my HNC and HND through night classes.
Is there something that you still want to achieve in your life?
- Complete my degree in NDT. It should take about five years of study.
Tell us something we may not know about you.
- I spent a season as a snowboard instructor in Japan.