The CITB has Funding up for Grabs!
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recently announced that it has a whopping £1.5 million in funding up for grabs! Before dashing off to phone them, it’s not the whole sum available for one person or company, there are provisos involved. The funding will be distributed to employers who can demonstrate how immersive learning can improve training in construction and the application window is open from 9th January (last week) for eleven weeks. The funding will be available for multiple projects led by eligible companies in partnership with training and technology experts. So, let’s take a little look at what immersive learning is all about, especially as this type of training is particularly relevant to our industry as it’s so hands-on.
The construction sector has actually been an early adopter of the use of immersive technology, including tools such as virtual reality and augmented reality as they are revolutionising the delivery of training and transforming the perception of our industry for young people. The Industry itself, as we’ve pointed out several times in the past, is in dire need of future workers and ensuring high-quality, cost-effective training methods will help to address the shortage of skilled workers here in the UK.
The CITB commissioned the report titled “A New Reality: Immersive Learning in Construction” in order to examine how the sector can modernise its training methods. Using case studies from market leaders, the report assesses the benefits provided by immersive learning practices and how they can best be applied.
Firstly, we want to clarify that immersive learning is an approach to learning which uses digital technologies to engage students through an interactive learning environment. This often uses game based techniques such as collaboration, communication, problem solving and visual immediacy to replicate environments and scenarios so that learners can practise skills. Immersive learning is a shift to a “blended approach” to learning which encourages students to interact with other students, instructors and content through thoughtful integration of both online and face-to-face environments. The benefits of using immersive learning techniques for construction industry training include:
It enhances the construction industry’s appeal to young people, particularly important as we strive to encourage more youngsters and school leavers to consider a career in construction.
It improves collaboration and problem-solving ability as new learners experiments with and discuss what they are being taught. Students can practise solving problems to demonstrate their competencies.
It improves safety as immersive learning can put the learner into a scenario (such as working at height) and ask them to look out for and identify potential problems.
It produces employees who are “work ready” as learners develop the practical skills necessary for work that would be difficult to experience otherwise, making them “work ready” and more attractive potential employees.
Accurate assessments can be made as immersive technology can track and capture a learner’s progress based on how they interact with tools and deal with situations. This allows an accurate assessment of a student’s performance and enables targeted support where necessary.
It’s more cost efficient as it negates the need to practise on expensive tools and materials, allowing learners to practise skills and competencies virtually before moving on to the real equipment.