UWTSD Master’s graduate's new role in Industry builds on her research in NDT


University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Master’s graduate Nelly Fernandez is building on the expertise and skills from her studies at University gained through collaborative industry placements, to further her career in the field of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT).

University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) Master’s student Nelly Fernandez is building on the expertise and skills from her studies at University gained through collaborative industry placements, to further her career in the field of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT).

Nelly has a Master’s degree in non-destructive testing and evaluation from UWTSD and works as an application/product support engineer at ETher NDE in St Albans.

ETher NDE is a company that manufactures eddy current equipment, probes and accessories. Nelly’s role as an Application/Product Support Engineer sees her work actively in design, as well as serving as liaison with customers to provide pre- and post-sale technical support. The company is also involved in different research projects to develop new technologies, where Nelly has responsibilities in probe design, testing, writing reports and engaging with the other partners.

Nelly said: “I studied a BSc in metallurgical and materials science engineering at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). By the time I finished I knew I wanted to continue my studies in an English-speaking country. I decided to come to the UK in 2015 and in 2016 started a Master’s degree in non-destructive testing and evaluation at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Swansea. This course was recommended to me by the NDT Professor from my BSc.”

Whilst studying for her MSc in NDT&E at UWTSD, Nelly had a placement with UWTSD’s industrial partner Oceaneering SIS in Swansea, where she undertook her experimental work as part of her Master’s Dissertation research project.  The research, ‘Assessment and Validation of the Lyft System for the Detection and Sizing of CUI with Associated FE Modelling’, involved the assessment and performance analysis of pulsed eddy current inspection and imaging of corrosion under insulation along with associated computer simulations.

Nelly’s industrial supervisor, Professor Richard Granville, Technical Authority for Advanced NDT at Oceaneering Inspection Management & Digital Solutions (IMDS) and also a Professor of Practice at UWTSD had this to say about the UWTSD/Oceaneering partnership and Nelly’s contribution: ‘’Nelly was an outstanding student and it was a pleasure to work with her.  Her thesis provided a significant contribution to the understanding of defect detection and sizing capabilities using Pulsed Eddy Current technology.  An excellent example of how collaboration between industrial and academic institutions can be of mutual benefit.”

Her Academic supervisor at UWTSD, Professor Peter Charlton added: “Nelly was a first-class student whilst at UWTSD and her approach to her studies was of a very high standard.  Additionally, her research undertaken with UWTSD and Oceaneering highlights the importance of academic and industrial partnerships for applied research, as evidenced with her current position at ETher NDE.”

John Hansen MD at ETher NDE and BINDT President said: “From day one Nelly has proved to be a very valued member of staff. She adapted quickly to our work environment and has been equally useful whether on site performing inspections, in the office designing eddy current probes or on an exhibition stand.”

“The Master’s Degree at UWTSD is one part of the jigsaw that through BINDT support is taking NDT from being something that people accidentally had a career in to being part of an identifiable academic progression. This will ensure this technological industry will have the calibre of employees that is needed for now and the future.”

Speaking about her time and research at UWTSD, Nelly said: “University was a very full-on experience, and despite the sleepless nights, I’m extremely grateful of having had this opportunity. I was taught by some of the best professors in the field, especially Peter Charlton who was my tutor, and had the experience of working under the supervision of Richard Granville at a company like Oceaneering, which gave me a great understanding of the industry as well provided me with the knowledge and confidence to thrive in it. 

“Academic matters aside, the best part of my experience at UWTSD was getting to know the beautiful country Wales is, especially the lovely beaches on its southwest coast.”

Nelly said a close family friend had influenced her decision to study further.

“My godmother works as an NDE Inspector and runs her own inspection company in Venezuela. She was always someone I looked up to and from an early age she helped me develop an interest in metallurgical engineering and later in NDE,” she said.

“Apart from the day-to-day tasks in my current role at ETher NDE, where every day brings new challenges to the table in order to meet the demands of each of our customers, the biggest challenge I have encountered in my career so far has been obtaining my Master’s degree. This was an accomplishment that I had to give my absolute 100% to achieve.”

Nelly said one of the main challenges of the industry was keeping up with customer demand.

“Customers are always asking for the most reliable and accurate technique to obtain results in the quickest way, to therefore spend less. Another pressing challenge for the NDE industry nowadays is, in my opinion, that new NDT technologies are currently being developed more rapidly than the standards for each of them. This forces companies to keep using old technology that is possibly not as efficient as new alternatives, only because standards are taking too long to catch up,” added Nelly, who is an Associate member of BINDT and a standard member of ASNT

Nelly said she hoped to inspire others to follow a similar journey into the industry, adding: “In many ways, NDT helps the world function the way it does, because it’s fundamental to many of its industries for them to operate in a safe and cost-effective manner. Therefore, someone working in NDT, from the moment the equipment is designed and produced, until the inspection is performed and the data it gathers analysed, is playing a big part maintaining many elements of our daily lives, working to make living them easier. 

“Knowing that one’s daily work is helping the world function, as well as improving and maintaining people’s quality of life, is definitely rewarding and motivating. I want to encourage more people, especially women, to delve into the world of NDT and make an impact.”

Barry Liles, OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Skills & Lifelong Learning) & Head of UWTSD’s Wales Institute of Science and Art said: “Nelly’s story exemplifies the significance of partnership working between industry and academia. Such partnership working is at the core of our activity at UWTSD and provides immense benefit to all parties. I wish to congratulate Nelly on her achievement and wish her well in her chosen career.”

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Mobile: 07384 467071

Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk