Apprentices battle for a chance at WorldSkills finals in Industrial Robotics qualifier

Bridgend College has hosted the final qualifying round for the Industrial Robotics category of WorldSkills UK 2023.

Held on 30 June at the STEAM Academy, five teams from Bridgend College and Gower College Swansea took part in the event. Bridgend College welcomed industry employers, including Sony UK TEC, Renishaw and FANUC, as well as guests from other academic institutions to view the competition and support the participants.

The qualifying task required the competitors to use offline programming to sequence robot simulation software in order to piece together a jigsaw puzzle. Using FANUC educational cells, the teams tested their skills over four and a half hours. The task required each individual to demonstrate key competencies required for industry, with the demand for collaborative robot solutions on the rise.

Each team was made up of two learners, with Bridgend College having three of the event’s five competing teams. All bar one of the Bridgend College entrants in the WorldSkills qualifier are apprentices, currently working with Sony UK TEC in Pencoed and Envases, based in Port Talbot. 

One of the College’s teams was made up of Chloe Walford and Martyna Duba, who won Gold at Skills Competitions Wales earlier this year for Industrial Robotics.   

Also in attendance was last year’s UK silver medalist Eva Hodgson, who represented Bridgend College in Industrial Robotics alongside partner, Catrina Morgan. Having successfully been selected to represent the UK in WorldSkills Lyon 2024, Eva is a current apprentice with Renishaw and continues to work with Bridgend College to further develop her Robotics training. 

In order to take part in the WorldSkills competitions, all entrants were required to demonstrate their offline programming skills, which were practised on specialised equipment from FANUC and ROBOGUIDE software. With 20 teams taking part across the UK in qualifiers last week – at FANUC headquarters in Coventry, MCT in Liverpool, and Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland – only a handful of the highest-scoring teams will be invited to the week-long UK final in November.

WorldSkills UK is an independent charity that supports young people across the globe via competition-based training, assessment and benchmarking. Each year it hosts a series of vocationally-focused competitions for individuals and teams to demonstrate their capabilities in an industry-based setting. The competitions provide fantastic learning and development opportunities that build on core skills valued by employers. 

Bridgend College would like to thank local employers Sony UK TEC and Evanses for supporting the apprentices throughout the competition and their studies, and wish the competitors representing the College the very best of luck in getting through to the next stage of the WorldSkills competition:

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