The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and Bournemouth and Poole College have given apprentice IT specialists, systems engineers, control engineers, production system engineers and technologists an opportunity to use their skills at a class in building robots. The class, which took place on May 23rd, demonstrated the accessibility of robotics engineering, an area of training that has previously been confined to research units utilising costly equipment.
The UK is the sixth largest manufacturing industry in the world and is increasingly leaning on robotic technology to boost automation in order to compete with production in other markets. By the end of 2010, the total number of operational robots across all industries will reach 1.2m worldwide.
The class at Bournemouth and Poole College focused on orientated programming and utilised robots that can be quickly built and programmed by the learners in the first two stages of the class. The participants then performed a series of practical tasks – a mini Robot Wars – to complete the session.
LSC director of apprenticeships Stephen Gardner said: ‘We recognise that there is an urgent need to invest in enhancing a diverse skills base and equip tomorrow’s workforce for the development and application of robotic technology.’
The class was provided as part of the LSC’s From Competence to Excellence programme, which runs throughout England between now and the end of June 2008.
Gardner added: ‘The LSC believes this programme will help apprentices to take their skills to world-class levels, to move from being competent to excellent. Robotics now features as part of the WorldSkills competitions, underlining the future importance of this key skillset across a wide variety of industries and applications.’