Graduate Apprentice, Robotics and Human Interaction

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
End of advertisement period
Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

Closing date 31 Jul 2019 23:00 (UK time)
Salary £15,842–£15,842 (Grade 1)
Location Edinburgh
Department MACS and EPS
Category Technical
Status Full Time
Duration 48 months fixed-term

About Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

About our Team

Robots have the potential to revolutionise the world's economy and society over the next twenty years, working for us, beside us and interacting with us. The robotics and autonomous systems area has been highlighted by the UK Government in 2013 as one the 8 Great Technologies that underpin the UK's Industrial Strategy for jobs and growth. The UK urgently needs graduates with the technical skills and industry awareness to create an innovation pipeline from academic research to global markets, in application areas including manufacturing, assistive and medical robots, offshore energy, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, defence, and support for the ageing population, amounting to a market space worth billions globally.

Our two Schools have engaged in a joint-venture with Edinburgh University to create the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics in 2014. The Centre is a £100m joint venture between the two Universities and is supported by the EPSRC, UK government and Industry. It captures the expertise of 50 principle investigators of international standing from 12 cross disciplinary research groups and institutes across the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Department of Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University, and the Schools of Informatics and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. The Centre includes an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Robotics and Autonomous Systems which trains over 120 innovation–ready graduates, the ROBOTARIUM, a £8m national capital equipment facility  and the £35m ORCA project are developing the future robotics solutions for exploitation and maintenance of offshore resources. Building on our existing investment, we will keep investing in infrastructure and staff with the creation of the UK’s first National Robotarium. The £26M pound hub will be built at Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and will open in 2021. It will be the UK’s leading innovation hub for robotics and autonomous systems, delivering leading-edge research and support for business creation and growth, as well as data skills. The new hub is an integral part of the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) theme of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, and will aim to establish the region as the robotics and AI capital of Europe – attracting investment, fuelling entrepreneurship and delivering growth.

Detailed Description

We are looking for a motivated Graduate Level Apprentice who would like to be part of this journey. You will have a strong interest in robotics and a real desire to learn.

Based on the Edinburgh Campus, the GLA will work across The School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences and The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, offering assistance with robotics technical and research demonstrations, assisting with the development and maintenance of our robots, but supporting activities relevant to School needs in other areas of School activity where relevant. As the GLA develops their expertise, their role will move towards more technical tasks and he/she will ultimately be in charge of the support and maintenance of our robots as well as being involved in the implementation of new algorithms and sensors on these robots.

The post-holder will work closely with a number of academic and other technical staff to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to demonstrate and promote robotics as a key area of academic interest and investment for the University.

It is expected that the post-holder will have the necessary entry requirements to enrol on the Computer Science, Computer Science in AI or the Computer Science Software Engineering SCQF level 10 (honours degree) at Heriot-Watt University, which will lead to a complementary qualification.

Key duties and responsibilities        

The post-holder will over four years of the GLA programme progress to competently undertake all of the following key duties:

Year 1

  • Organising and hosting demonstrations e.g.  robotics devices, manufacturing systems and projects
  • Developing a working knowledge of our robot ‘fleet’ both in terms of hardware and software to a level enabling the GLA to operate the robots safely and autonomously.
  • Develop a specific new capability on one robot using a programming language (Python, Java) to reinforce knowledge acquired in year 1. This could be for instance a set of laboratory exercises for our first year students or a pilot demo for our research.

Year 2-4

  • Technical support for robotics systems and devices – software and hardware
  • Leadership of public engagement and other activities through which our work is disseminated
  • Specialise in support for particular labs/devices/systems/projects (Year3)
  • Participate as a team member in research and development projects (Year 4)

Education, qualifications and experience 

These are the criteria on which the short-listing and recruitment selection will be based.

  1. Educated to Scottish Highers AAAB with at least a B in Maths
  2. Some experience of using a programming platform
  3. Well-developed interpersonal skills
  4. Demonstrable professional and proactive approach
  5. Demonstrable ability to work quickly, flexibly and accurately in a dynamic, changing and pressured environment

General Competencies, Tasks and Responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities listed under the following Competency Headings form part of all technical roles in the University at this level and it is expected that the role-holder will be able to perform them to an effective standard.

Team Work

  • Contribute to and provide general support across the MACS and EPS technical teams
  • Support for other colleagues within the immediate team as appropriate
  • Liaise across research teams in MACS and EPS

Service Excellence

  • Deal with researchers and academics who ask for service or require information
  • Create a positive image of the University by being responsive, prompt and courteous when responding to requests or enquiries from external people
  • Produce standard and ad hoc reports as requested
  • Enter and maintain records and data into systems
  • Liaise with internal and external teams and the systems suppliers, to ensure an effective service
  • Keep working area clean and tidy in line with appropriate H&S and confidentiality requirements

Clear and Consistent Communications

  • Pass on data/information/messages
  • Explain routine instructions, procedures, operating instructions or information.
  • Reply to simple requests for information, routing enquiries where information is standard/routine.
  • Discuss routine work matters with supervisors
  • Maintain confidentiality at all times
  • Disseminate news and information to relevant externals and colleagues

Planning and Organising

  • Managing projects or short pieces of work.
  • Arrange meetings/workshops, including room and equipment, hospitality and invites to attendees as appropriate
  • Carry out routine instructions from standard procedures
  • Contribute to drafting of standard procedures within your team
  • File, archive and destroy data in line with the University Data Protection & Retention Policy
  • Provide appropriate support for meetings and events;
  • Support School/Directorate and team processes and procedures by meeting schedules and timetables

Decision Making

  • Provide advice and guidance, respond to queries and refer more complex queries to more senior members of the team or the external supplier as appropriate
  • Understand the appropriate tools to use when undertaking day to day tasks
  • Follow set procedures and protocols referring any non-standard requests to line manager.

Management Responsibilities

  • There are no management responsibilities within this position but you may be asked to take on management or supervisory duties on occasion as part of your personal development


  • Demonstrate the University Values at all times through performance and behaviour
  • Participate in ad-hoc duties to support the team/University and for personal development
  • Support newer or inexperienced colleagues within and outside the University by offering support, help and advice
  • Positively promote the University internally and externally through positive behaviour and  supporting University-wide activities

This job description is intended as a flexible framework which outlines the key general areas of activity in your position. Other activities may be required which are not outlined above but which are appropriate to the position and grade. Your personal objectives (Forward Job Plan) will also set out specific tasks and objectives for you to achieve, including objectives to help your career development.

How To Apply        

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 31st July 2019.

Any informal queries relating to this post should be sent to Professor Lynne Baillie by email l.baillie@hw.ac.uk  

This role does not meet the minimum requirements set by UKVI to enable sponsorship of migrant workers. Therefore we cannot progress applications from candidates who require sponsorship to work in the UK. For further information on this please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas.

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.