Case study

Peak NDT gains from graduate talent

A 12-month graduate project part-funded by Enscite really made the difference for ultrasonic inspection specialist Peak NDT. Having done such a good job of kickstarting the firm’s marketing and raising its profile, the graduate is now permanently employed with the company.

About Peak NDT

Derby-based Peak NDT makes hardware and software that enables people to inspect critical pieces of infrastructure — within power plants, railways and aeroplanes for example — to ensure they remain safe. The firm specialises in a form of non-destructive testing (NDT) that uses ultrasound waves, and works with several multinational tech companies.

Peak NDT ultrasonic inspection controller

Looking to raise its profile

Peak NDT has been operating since 1995 and had grown largely through word of mouth thanks to the credibility of its products. Director Matt Symonds knew that the firm would need to become more marketing focused to get to the next level of growth. However, the business didn’t have the expertise or knowledge in-house to do this.

Through a business connection, Matt found out about the support available to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the aerospace, rail and automotive supply chains through the Enscite programme programme. Thanks to this scheme, Peak NDT employees were able to attend fully funded workshops on marketing and business development, which Matt says were really useful.

The business also decided to take advantage of grant funding to help employ a recent University of Derby graduate for a 12-month KEI project (Knowledge Exchange for Innovation). Matt explains why this offer appealed to them:

“Marketing was a completely new area of us. We weren’t ready to jump in and invest 40k a year on a marketing manager. Enscite gave us an affordable way to employ someone young and bright who understands the latest developments in marketing and could get us started on the journey. Also, they took control of the recruitment side of things for us, which saved us a lot of time. We explained the sort of expertise we were looking for and they helped us find the right person.”


The impact of graduate talent

In January 2021, Peak NDT employed recent Business Management graduate Shayma Lali for a 12-month marketing project. Matt says she has really enhanced the firm’s marketing presence, researching events they should attend, and developing exhibition stands and promotional materials, as well as a new website. 

Shayma also turned her hand to procurement. “She was really good at organising that side of the business too,” says Matt. “She looked at new ways of doing things and started engaging more with our suppliers. In general, she’s a very competent person.”

Shayma made such an impact that Peak NDT has now employed her permanently, and she splits her time between procurement and marketing activities.

“I think it just goes to show that the important thing is getting the right people into your business, and then allowing them to find their own fit,” says Matt.

Enscite signposted to other support

Matt says it can be hard for SMEs to find out about relevant business support programmes and funding, but notes that the University has really helped with this:

“It’s great that the University and Enscite are well linked into other schemes. For example, they signposted us to the ASCEND programme run by Derby City Council, so we now have mentors supporting us with marketing and supply-chain development.

Having access to this whole network of support — including workshops, grants, expertise — really is gold dust because it’s not just one thing and therefore has more of an impact.”

Man working on machinery in the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering

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