TWI UK Q&A with Programme Manager, Konstantinos Chronopoulos

We spoke to Konstantinos about his background, his experience of working at TWI, the importance of non-destructive testing, and more…

Hi Konstantinos, can you start by letting us know a bit about your background and how you originally came to be interested in engineering?

Of course! From a young age, I was always fascinated by how things work. This curiosity led me to take apart and reassemble household items and help my grandfather with the family car maintenance. My time with the boy scouts also played a significant role in fostering my interest in engineering, as I enjoyed working on projects that involved building and problem-solving, which reinforced my desire to gain in-depth knowledge and built-up my passion for understanding the mechanics behind everyday objects naturally, eventually guiding me towards pursuing a career in engineering.

I began my career as an NDT (non-destructive testing) engineer, initially conducting field inspections. Over time, I advanced into supervisory roles and eventually managed major projects across the Europe. Inspired by this experience, I decided to further pursue and build upon this career path as I was captivated by its potential to ensure safety and integrity in various industries without causing any material or structural damage while carrying out tests.

I then pursued a degree in mechanical engineering and design at the University of Derby, where I got the opportunity to dive deeper into the principles of design, materials science, and thermodynamics. Following this, I completed an MSc in Structural Integrity that allowed me to specialise in the durability and safety of structures, further enhancing my knowledge in non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques.

5 years ago, I joined TWI as Senior NDT Lecturer and then, in November 2023, I was appointed in the role of NDT Training Programme Manager. This role allows me to combine my technical expertise with my passion for education, helping to train the next generation of engineers in these essential techniques. Working at TWI has been incredibly rewarding, as it has proven to be a hub of innovation and excellence in the field of NDT.

What is your role at TWI and what made you decide to work at TWI Training?

Initially, I joined TWI in 2019 as a Senior NDT Lecturer. In this role, I was responsible for delivering high-quality training and education to professionals in the field of non-destructive testing. My focus was on ensuring that our trainees gained a deep understanding of NDT techniques and their applications, along with the latest industry standards and practices.

After less than five years of dedicated work and continuous professional development, I was promoted to the role of NDT Programme Manager. In this capacity, I oversee the entire NDT training programme at TWI UK, as well as setting up the vision for the future development. My responsibilities include designing and updating course curricula, ensuring the quality and relevance of our training materials, and managing a team of highly skilled lecturers. Additionally, I collaborate with industry partners and stakeholders to ensure that our training programmes align with the evolving needs of the industry.

What made me decide to work at TWI Training was the institute's unparalleled reputation for excellence and innovation in the field of engineering and materials. TWI is known globally for its cutting-edge research and development, and I was eager to be a part of an organisation that is at the forefront of technological advancements. Moreover, TWI's commitment to professional development and lifelong learning resonated with my personal values and career aspirations.

Joining TWI provided me with the unique opportunity to combine my technical expertise in NDT with my passion for education. The supportive and dynamic environment at TWI has allowed me to grow professionally and contribute meaningfully to the field. Working here, I am continually inspired by the talented individuals around me and the impactful work we do in training the next generation of NDT professionals.

What is a typical day like for you and what do you like most about being a Programme Manager?

A typical day as a Programme Manager at TWI is dynamic and multifaceted, filled with a variety of responsibilities that keep me engaged and motivated.

In the morning, I often start by reviewing and responding to emails, including inquiries from clients regarding our training programmes. I liaise closely with our clients to understand their specific needs and requirements, providing bespoke solutions tailored to their training objectives. This involves coordinating with our team of experts to ensure that we deliver the highest standard of training that meets or exceeds our clients' expectations.

Throughout the day, I support our team of lecturers by providing guidance and assistance as they deliver NDT courses to our trainees. This may involve troubleshooting technical issues, addressing any concerns raised by lecturers, or providing additional resources to enhance the learning experience.

Another important aspect of my role is coordinating the update of our training materials to ensure that they reflect the latest industry standards and best practices. This involves working closely with subject matter experts to review and revise course content, as well as incorporating feedback from trainees and industry partners.

In addition to my day-to-day responsibilities, I also play a key role in delivering high-standard projects to our clients. This may involve managing multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring that they are completed on time and within budget while maintaining the highest level of quality.

What I enjoy most about being a Programme Manager is the opportunity to make a tangible impact on our clients' training experiences. I take pride in knowing that my contributions help our clients to get the most out of their training, enabling them to meet their professional development goals and excel in their careers. I also appreciate the versatility in my daily tasks, as each day presents new challenges and opportunities for growth. Furthermore, I value the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders on various projects and activities, which keeps my work exciting and fulfilling.

Overall, being a Programme Manager at TWI allows me to combine my technical expertise with my passion for education, training and management, making a meaningful difference in the lives of our trainees and the industries we serve.

NDT is such an important aspect of so many industries, but what makes TWI stand out as an NDT training provider?

TWI stands out as an NDT training provider for several key reasons that set us apart in the industry.

First and foremost, TWI has a long-standing reputation for excellence and innovation in engineering and materials science. With over 70 years of experience, TWI has been at the forefront of research and development in non-destructive testing (NDT), making significant contributions to advancing NDT technologies and techniques.

Secondly, TWI’s NDT training programmes are developed and delivered by industry experts who possess extensive hands-on experience and technical expertise in the field. Our lecturers not only have a deep understanding of NDT principles and practices, but also stay abreast of the latest industry trends and advancements, ensuring that our training remains relevant and up-to-date.

Another distinguishing factor is the practical, hands-on approach to training that TWI offers. Our training facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and resources, allowing our candidates to gain real-world experience in conducting NDT inspections and tests. This practical training is complemented by theoretical knowledge, ensuring that trainees have a comprehensive understanding of NDT principles and applications.

TWI's commitment to continuous improvement and quality assurance is reflected in our accreditation and certification as an NDT training provider. We adhere to stringent quality standards and undergo regular audits to ensure that our training programmes meet the highest industry benchmarks.

Additionally, TWI offers bespoke as well as on-site training courses tailored to our clients’ specific needs and requirements. Whether our clients prefer training delivered at their own facilities or customised courses designed to address their unique challenges, TWI provides flexible and personalised training solutions (as required) to meet their objectives.

For me, what truly sets TWI apart as an NDT training provider is the unwavering dedication to excellence, innovation, and customer satisfaction. We strive to empower individuals and organisations with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today's competitive and dynamic industry landscape.

How do you see TWI training progressing in the future, including your department?

Looking ahead, I envision TWI training continuing to evolve and innovate to meet the changing needs of industries and professionals worldwide. In particular, I see several key areas of progression for TWI training, including advancements in technology, expansion of our training offerings, and enhancement of delivery methods.

One of the most significant developments I anticipate is TWI to expand its training offerings to address a broader range of industries and applications. While our expertise in NDT is unparalleled, there are opportunities to develop training programmes in complementary areas such as Full Matrix Capture / Total Focusing Method (FMC/TFM), Inspection of Stainless Steel using PAUT, etc.

I am quite confident that TWI training will remain at the forefront of professional development in engineering and materials science, empowering individuals and organisations to succeed in an ever-changing world.