Enginuity Future Skills Hub

Enginuity Future Skills Hub

Engineering and manufacturing is rapidly transforming, making it hard for employers to know what skills they need to keep pace with change.​ ​The Enginuity Future Skills Hub aims to demystify the skills, trends and transitions reshaping industries within the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sector.


What are automation and robotics?

Automation involves the use of technology to perform tasks traditionally done by humans, while robotics refers to the design, construction, and operation of robots to automate processes and tasks in various industries.

Robots on assembly line

Automation and robotics explained

How are automation and robotics used

Automation and robotics have key uses in manufacturing, quality control, material handling, additive manufacturing, collaborative tasks, and inventory management. Examples include: 

  • Performing manufacturing tasks like assembly, welding, painting, and material handling tasks like pick-and-place and loading/unloading  
  • Identifying defects and measuring dimensions  
  • Moving materials within facilities and assisting in packaging and palletising  
  • Layering materials in additive manufacturing processes  
  • Performing collaborative tasks alongside human workers, including inventory management and operation in environments with strict cleanliness requirements. 

Benefits of automation and robotics

Automation and robotics offer numerous applications in small and medium engineering and manufacturing businesses, providing efficiency, precision, and flexibility which can lead to improved productivity, quality, and competitiveness. 

Automation and robotics and Industry 4.0

Automation and Robotics are core components of , driving efficiency, flexibility, and productivity in manufacturing operations. They automate repetitive tasks, enhance precision and accuracy, and enable adaptive manufacturing processes, fostering agility, scalability, and resilience in the era of smart factories and intelligent production systems.

Automation and robotics and sustainability

Automation and robotics can enhance sustainability by improving manufacturing precision, reducing errors, enhancing workplace safety, and optimising the use of resources. This leads to increased efficiency, minimised waste, and real-time monitoring and control of sustainable manufacturing operations.

Manufacturing computer components

What skills might you need?

Skills required for automation and robotics include expertise in robotics programming, mechatronics, and control systems engineering. Additionally, knowledge of industrial automation technologies, such as PLCs and SCADA systems, and proficiency in robotic simulation software is essential for designing, implementing, and maintaining automated manufacturing systems in engineering and manufacturing environments. 

Other specific skills include: 

  • Programming and coding  
  • Robotics system integration   
  • Mechanical and electrical engineering  
  • Industrial automation  
  • Control systems engineering  
  • Robotics simulation  
  • Safety compliance  
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance  
  • Project management  
  • Data analysis and visualisation  
  • Quality control and assurance  
  • Cybersecurity awareness  
  • Cost analysis and budgeting  
  • Continuous improvement  

Who might need them?

Different roles within an SME might require different levels of skills related to automation and robotics, including: 

  • Automation and robotics specialists 
  • Maintenance and operations personnel 
  • Manufacturing engineers 
  • IT and systems administrators 
  • Project managers 
  • Quality assurance and testing teams 
  • Business analysts 
  • End-users and operators

Useful resources

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Manufacturing and Technology Centre

The MTC is focused on supporting UK industry to overcome the challenges of adopting automation. Using its breadth of knowledge and expertise, the MTC provides impartial advice and guidance...

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Want to upskill?

Explore a range of training options offered by the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre.

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UK Automation Forum

The UK Automation Forum brings together experts, end users, policymakers and suppliers from  across the industry, to discuss challenges and topics relating to the adoption of automation technology...

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Automate UK is a unifying voice for members as the leading trade association for automation suppliers and end users of technology across processing, packaging, robotics and machine vision...

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