Why NATA Technical Assessors matter

Industry News March 8, 2024
Why NATA Technical Assessors matter
NATA team

We spoke to 60-Year NATA veteran Cliff Simmons to get his perspective 

There is little question Technical Assessors (TAs) are fundamental to NATA and its successful operation. In a rapidly changing and more complex world, their role has become even more essential.  

“TAs are the life blood of NATA. It’s simple – no TAs – no NATA,” explains Cliff. 

“As a volunteer TA, you give your time and expertise for the benefit of your industry. I see the role as paying back some of the effort that was invested in developing an individual’s competencies and skills. 

“Being a volunteer, support from NATA staff is also critical.  In my time I’ve always had the support I need.  I receive competent briefing notes and associated documentation together with travel and accommodation arrangements as necessary, and I’ve never been disappointed,” added Cliff.

So, what do you think makes a great TA? 

“Technical knowledge, being a good listener and observer, a willingness to impart experience and knowledge, an eye for detail, diligence, persistence, courtesy and respect for facility personnel are just some of the qualities. 

“TA’s also need to be mindful that interviewees are quite likely to be stressed at the prospect of discussing and demonstrating their testing.  Indeed, a great TA will have the ability to make testing personnel feel at ease (as far as possible) at this time.  Also, a great TA will make sure that technical findings arising during the assessment are crystal clear to the facility staff and be prepared for further discussion if necessary.  Take time to think about being ‘in the other person’s shoes,'” says Cliff. 

So, what are the benefits to the TAs themselves do you think? 

“There are great benefits and that’s why I’ve been a TA for 54 years. Getting out to see the workings of other facilities develops your mindset and knowledge. You see how others do it. Exchange of information and ideas inevitably occurs.  You are exposed to a variety of industries well outside one’s own environment and this is always interesting.  I’ve always learnt something of value from each assessment.  Also, I’ve seen much of Australia through assessments. Finally, being a TA has helped me to maintain and improve my technical knowledge,” concluded Cliff. 

We thank Cliff for his keen insights and wish him the very best in his well-deserved retirement.