Industrial automation experts FANUC UK have reported an impressive 53% year-on-year increase in the number of young people that have applied for the WorldSkills UK Industrial Robotics competition. A record 80 young people have registered to take part in the 2024 initiative, which aims to gives students and apprentices the chance to learn key robotics programming and operating skills with help from FANUC experts. This is a significant increase on 2023, which attracted 52 applicants.

This year’s entrants hail from all corners of the UK. Wales, Northern Ireland and the South-East are particularly well represented, but there are also teams from the West Midlands, London, Yorkshire, the North-East, the South-West, the North-West and, for the first time ever, the Isle of Wight.

The first stage of the competition will see contestants work in teams of two to take on a simulated entry-stage task on FANUC’s ROBOGUIDE system, which is provided free of charge. Successful competitors will then undertake training with FANUC before competing at the live qualifier stage at FANUC’s stand at Smart Factory Expo, held on 5-6 June at the NEC Birmingham. The most talented teams will be invited to programme and operate a robot in a real-world task at the National Finals during FANUC UK’s Open House event in Coventry this November, with the winners having the chance to represent Squad UK in Shanghai in 2026.

“The WorldSkills UK Industrial Robotics competition is vital for igniting a passion for automation among young people who might not otherwise get the chance to experience it,” says Oliver Selby, Head of Sales for FANUC UK. “This is the fourth year that we have partnered with WorldSkills UK and it is an initiative which we are proud to support. The future success of UK manufacturing depends on increasing the current levels of robot adoption and in equipping our future workforce with the real-world skills that employers need. Providing hands-on training to this year’s crop of talented competitors and building on their enthusiasm will hopefully inspire many of them to go on and follow a career within automation, so it is particularly encouraging that this year’s competition has attracted a record number of applications. Everyone at FANUC is excited to see this year’s students in action for the first time at Smart Factory Expo – and if you think you’ve got the skills to match them, there will be the chance to have a go at the WorldSkills UK challenge yourself at Stand 4-B80!”

To learn more, visit www.fanuc.eu/uk/en.