The group of six engineering apprentices will fly to Tennessee in February, where they will spend a week studying at Cleveland State Community College.
It will be a chance in a lifetime opportunity for the students to experience college life in the States, where they will take advantage of the latest equipment, methods and research in both robotics and automation.
Student Daniel Thompson, 20, of Middlesbrough, who works at Lotte Chemical UK Ltd. as a mechanical engineering apprentice, said, “The trip will be the chance of a lifetime for me. It’s a great opportunity to widen my horizons and further develop my skills and knowledge, which will help with my future career. I really appreciate the support Lotte Chemical has shown me through my apprenticeship.”
Engineering tutor Neil Walker has been taking students to America since 1999.
Every year, students stay with host families and attend Cleveland State Community College for five days, before enjoying some downtime sightseeing and hiking.
“Cleveland State Community College has a fantastic robotics workshop, so it’s a great chance for some of our engineering students to gain new skills and experience to enhance their studies,” said Neil.
“They will all study intensively for five days before being assessed. It will be an amazing learning experience and something they will never forget.
“Last year we also visited the new Volkswagen factory, and we will probably do the same this year. It was a phenomenal place, full of the latest robots, so that in itself was a real eye opener,” Neil said.
All of the students are completing their apprenticeships with local employers, in partnership with Redcar & Cleveland College and TTE.
Students going on the trip have been sponsored by their individual employers, with additional funding provided by the Sir William Turner Trust.
Student Mark Harrison, 18, of Redcar, who is an apprentice mechanical fitter at Grow How, said it would be his first ever trip to the U.S.
“I’m really excited about the trip and the opportunity to gain qualifications in robotics. We will be working hard, but it will be worth the effort. It’s a great thing to put on my CV [curriculum vitae].”