Two state-of-the-art virtual reality hubs are opening at Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College, while an additional mobile VR unit will be available to travel to businesses, schools and events.
The VR hubs have been bought as part of an £8.4m project, delivered by The Lancashire Colleges, to develop the skills of the region’s current and future workforce and help businesses to lead the way in low carbon technology.
Funded by the Department for Education, the Strategic Development Fund Pilot aims to increase joint working between colleges and employers to prepare Lancashire’s workforce for the move to a low carbon economy.
Each hub will support local manufacturers to benefit from immersive surroundings which allow employees to understand the location and setting that they are working with, in turn helping manufacturers to develop a process without having to travel long distances or enter high risk environments.
The VR setup allows multiple groups of people to remotely understand a process at the same time to increase collaboration and can also be used for remote presentations, demonstrations, risk assessments and design reviews.
In addition to being available to local businesses, students at colleges across Lancashire will also be able to learn in real-life environments without needing to leave the classroom, helping them become ready for the world of work once they qualify. Local schools will also be able to benefit from the technology for curriculum delivery, virtual field trips and special events.
Paul Barker from Nelson and Colne College Group said: “We’re determined to use the SDF Pilot to make a real difference, investing in alternative technologies and training so that companies and communities can thrive in a low carbon Lancashire.
“The VR suites allow local companies to lead the way in finding solutions to manufacturing challenges, while it means students and workers in Lancashire can learn using the best technology on the market, creating new opportunities to help local employees to become the best they can be without having to leave the county.”
Businesses can request access to the hubs either on site at the college or the 3m2 mobile unit can visit their company premises via [email protected]