Engineering apprentices bring robotic bird back to life


ENGINEERING apprentices in Edinburgh have dealt with their most unusual animal rescue operation yet – bringing a feathered robot back to life.

Daniel Dewar and Sean Devine worked with their Edinburgh College lecturer Terry Healey to perform extensive repairs on the Scottish Seabird Centre’s mechanical gannet, which is on display at the Centre in North Berwick.

The Seabird Centre asked the students to repair its broken bird so it could head back into action and continue raising money for the charity and educating visitors.

Daniel Dewar, Terry Healy and Sean Devine with the robotic bird
Daniel Dewar, Terry Healy and Sean Devine with the robotic bird


The fabrication and welding apprentices used their skills to shape replacement parts and weld and braze them into place on the intricate bird structure.

Now fixed and back home at the Seabird Centre’s Discovery Centre, the gannet springs to life when a donation is made, making the distinctive gannet call, rotating to show the inner workings of its skeletal structure and revealing a metal fish struggling in its beak.

It is ideally located close to the Centre’s interactive Bass Rock cameras, where visitors can zoom in on the real life gannets on the Bass Rock – the world’s largest Northern gannet colony.


Daniel and Sean are on the second year of a four-year modern apprenticeship in fabrication and welding. They visit the college’s Midlothian Campus in Dalkeith two days a week to receive training they can apply to their job roles at Scotia Security.

Daniel said: “This has been a great chance to put the skills we have learned through our course into practice. This was the first time we’ve done a job for somebody that will be seen outside the college, and you take a lot of pride in your work.”