MK:U launches groundbreaking robotics engineer degree apprenticeship

MK:U is set to launch one of the UK’s first Robotics Engineer Degree Apprenticeship courses in October 2024, answering an urgent demand for skilled workers in this industry. At the launch event in Milton Keynes on 1 May, industry and academic experts discussed the future of automation and robots in the workplace, accompanied by interactive robotics demonstrations.

This innovative initiative comes in response to the growing demand for skilled roboticists across various sectors including manufacturing, healthcare, and service industries, where the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Recognising the critical need for professionals in robotics engineering, MK:U has collaborated closely with leading robotics companies to develop a curriculum tailored to industry demands. Experts from Cranfield University’s Centre for Robotics and Assembly will deliver the academic elements of the degree apprenticeship. Endorsements from prominent industry players such as ABB Robotics and the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s centre for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments, emphasise the programme’s relevance and importance.

Apprentices will undertake a three-year learning experience at MK:U covering practical, real-world applications and ethical considerations in programming. The course will offer a combination of theory and hands-on practical experience with hardware. This will prepare students for roles encompassing the design, development, and maintenance of robotic systems. Crucially the new degree apprenticeship will bring in systems engineering, giving students an understanding of the contexts and wider systems that robots operate in.

The programme also covers aspects such as psychology, AI, and human factors. Understanding the interactions between humans and robots is essential in shaping the future of robotics, as these technologies become increasingly integrated into everyday life.

Dr Rebecca Raper, Lecturer in Robotics at Cranfield University and the course leader said, “The robotics landscape is changing fast with robots and AI assistance now normalised in our homes. There is a real demand for people with the skills to push forward this exciting and growing industry. And employers are looking for people with a multitude of skills – not just engineering and technical ability, but also a broader understanding of how robots interact with other systems and with humans. That’s what we will be delivering with this new degree apprenticeship so it’s a really exciting prospect.”

Visit the MK:U website for more information about the programme.