High tech company ULC Robotics has joined forces with Northern Skills Group – Middlesbrough College’s apprenticeship and training arm – to offer students a gateway to the future.

The innovative service provider is a leader in product development and specialist robotic services for the natural gas, energy and electricity sectors.

ULC will work with Northern Skills Group to train a number of students in its specialist work.

The company develops and manufactures complex robotic systems, and carries out research and development of new innovative technology solutions to help energy and utilities companies address their problems.

One of these service solutions is known as CISBOT – a robot used to inspect, repair and remediate ageing 18th century gas pipes.

Those studying specialist engineering and mechanical courses at Middlesbrough College will have the chance to join a unique training programme designed to nurture ULC engineers of tomorrow.

Graeme Cleeton, vice president of ULC’s UK operations, is from Middlesbrough.

He said: “I’m passionate about offering the next generation opportunities, and our sector must invest in skills development to ensure we have a sustainable future.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Northern Skills Group to develop a programme that will give us the skills and knowledge to keep innovating and adding value to our clients.

“Significant growth of ULC in the UK over the last few years is allowing us to make this investment, which will help us make even further advances.”

Students selected for the programme will spend time on work placements with the technology company during holidays before graduating to work full time from ULC’s UK base near Heathrow.

The company is supporting students with travel and accommodation expenses.  

Trainees will spend time working on real client projects in the field, picking up high level engineering and problem solving skills along the way.

They will work on a huge range of tasks as there are no typical ULC projects, though previous challenges include fixing live gas mains in busy city-centre locations and inspections of 12-acre electrical substations.

Karen Knights, regional manager at Northern Skills Group, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to start a career in one of the world’s most exciting and fastest growing sectors.

“Expert trainers and assessors at Northern Skills Group will work closely with ULC to create a programme that meets the business’ objectives and provides the grounding for trainees to move into high value jobs.

“From our Middlesbrough College STEM Centre base, Northern Skills Group works with a range of companies in the automotive, logistics, engineering and energy sectors to provide industry-leading skills development with the help of high quality in-house equipment.

“ULC is the latest company we’re pleased to be supporting to grow and futureproof its workforce.”