Inducting workers onto tunnelling sites is time consuming and potentially dangerous with tight, cramped working conditions.
Onboarding new employees needs to be safe but able to convey the numerous dangers and procedures required to operate within guidelines underground.
Make Real’s challenge was to create induction content by incorporating immersive technologies and finding an engaging way to encourage people into the industry.
Finding ways to engage and encourage people into the construction industry is an ongoing challenge.
In September 2017 the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) published research on the value, opportunities and barriers of immersive learning adoption in construction training. Their research found that immersive learning can help address a range of challenges in the following ways:
– Enhance the industry’s appeal to ‘digitally-native’ audiences through future-focused technology
– Increase the quality and coverage of training by providing experiences and environments that may not be possible via traditional methods, making students more ‘work-ready’
– Improve levels of collaboration and problem-solving tasks that stimulate more interrogation and knowledge retention
– Reduce cost of delivery and optimise trainers’ time by improving tutor / student ratios and freeing up time for more technical aspects
In early 2019, following the research, the CITB approved funding for a number of benchmark projects that use immersive technologies with the intention of piloting and measuring their effectiveness. Inducting people into tunnelling skills projects was one of those funded by the CITB and delivered using match funding in partnership with TunnelSkills, Morgan Sindall and BAM Nuttall, utilising partnerships and engagement with existing large-scale real-world development sites, including Thames Tideway, HS2 and HPC.
The objective was to blend existing behavioural induction training for a wide range of learners across sectors, with new immersive learning content. Make Real was aiming to enthuse industry through engagement of workers and potential employees, whilst helping reduce induction time, improve memory retention and behaviour, ensuring inductee safety.
– Tunnelling Operative apprentices
– Existing tunnel construction employees
– Other project employees (including non-construction employees e.g. back-office staff, managers, supervisors, designers)
– Those undertaking cross-industry courses, such as Tunnelling Safety Training Scheme, City & Guilds Tunnel Entry (6151), Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme and Site Management Safety Training Scheme
– College and school students
Due to the mix of content utilising 360º video and 3D CGI interactive scenes, Oculus Quest standalone VR devices were the chosen final deployment hardware.
The content was created using Unity 3D engine for VR support. 360º filming took place underground by Make Real’s resident freelance filmographer Michael Danks, accompanied by trained tunnel skills and organisational representatives.
The original intention for all CITB funded immersive projects, was to implement new training solutions and then measure their impact over a twenty four month timeframe.
With 2020 being the year of delivery, this will be the year of piloting and measurement for the training applications.
Throughout 2021 Tunnelskills will be piloting the applications and tracking the impact with a view to contributing to the final CITB report due early 2022.
These VR apps are now available to download for free through the Oculus Quest App Lab Store.
COMPANY: Make Real Ltd