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Last edited 26 May 2021
Virtual reality construction experience for students
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) have introduced a virtual reality experience aimed at aiding construction education for students. The project stems from ‘Skills on Site’ (SonS), a CWIC initiative designed to provide interesting and engaging ‘live, on-site’ learning opportunities for students of all ages to support classroom teaching. CWIC has worked with partner colleges across Wales to deliver a range of construction-based training courses to address the specific needs of future skills, gaps in provision and to attract the next generation to consider the industry as a career option.
 A new instruction approach
The course, entitled ‘Construct Your Future’, has been designed in such a way that pupils are able to work towards an end of year ‘design and build project’ as well as achieve a City and Guilds Level 1 award in construction skills which will provide them with a valuable introduction to the construction industry. They will also have opportunities to be hands-on with some of the essential skills required in the industry and undertake tasks using computer aided design (CAD) software and to learn about quantity surveying.
One of these hands-on opportunities is a virtual reality programme – using CWIC’s Virtual Built Environment Element Explorer (VBEEE) software – which aims to increase the appeal of the construction industry by ‘gamifying’ the construction process. The programme was piloted at Ysgol y Preseli in Ceredigion with year 11 students on Friday 18 March 2021. The software allows learners to explore and experience the construction process by constructing a variety of different buildings virtually, and once complete allows learners to compare the performance sustainability and cost measures built into them.
Laura Clarke, regional manager – Wales at CIOB, said, “...this collaborative approach by CIOB and CWIC is spearheading cutting-edge ways of bringing the construction industry to life during the pandemic and encouraging young people into the sector.”
Gareth Wyn Evans, manager at CWIC, said, “For both education and the construction industry, immersive and remote training is engaging, cost-effective and safe. It also provides trainees with the true to life experience not currently possible. By exploring, gaining familiarity with and practising in our simulated environment, knowledge and skills can be gained without any interruption of real-world consequences.”
Huw Thomas, curriculum leader at Coleg Ceredigion said, "The Ysgol y Preseli year 11 cohort are studying towards the WJEC planning and maintaining the built environment qualification though our school link programme. This event will benefit them greatly towards the upcoming assessments in May 2021.”
This article originally appeared on the CIOB website under the headline, 'CIOB and CWIC launch virtual reality construction experience for students'. It was published on 24 March 2021.
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