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Pioneering partnership helps construction students improve skills

Bridgwater & Taunton College is working in partnership with Cardiff-based training technology company Immersity to harness the latest technology to improve skills training.

As part of the College’s Construction Live projects and their Steel Fixing and Formwork Apprenticeship programmes, which take place at their Construction Skills and Innovation Centre in Cannington, candidates from around the country are able to undertake projects and apprenticeship learning on the College’s real-life construction site. Alongside this practical experience, they are taught site behaviours and standards and specific technical knowledge and skills.

However, there are practical elements which cannot be undertaken by candidates not qualified to do so, and so to enable them to learn the standards and expectations needed for a safe site, they will soon be able to immerse themselves in virtual reality site environments, using a VR app being developed and produced by Cardiff-based training technology company Immersity.

Working in teams on ‘live’ work-based projects, learners will assimilate and practice skills in complete safety, whilst also coming to understand the protocols and behaviours that are important to construction site safety.

The apps being developed for this type of immersive learning are for Steel Fixing and Formwork apprentices, in readiness for the End Point Assessments, in order to measure development and impact.

The experiential learning elements to the app are for hazard and risk awareness, with a VR module for inductions which will be ready for September 2019.

These innovative methods of learning have been made possible following a successful bid for funding from the CITB, which provides grants for specific projects relating to careers, innovation and training.

Andy Berry, Principal of Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) said: “New technology has an important role to play in training the workforce of tomorrow. Virtual reality enables students to experience and learn from a range of different scenarios, honing their skills and required behaviours in a safe environment.”

Commenting on the partnership Hugh Sullivan, founder and CEO of Immersity, added: “Immersity’s leading-edge technology marks a significant innovation in the design and delivery of virtual reality training. And we are proud to be working with BTC on such an important pioneering project.”

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