Virtual Reality Foundation Passport training gives innovative construction site experience

01 Dec 2022

Jacob Hedley pic 1.jpg

Job seeker Jacob Hedley was so astounded by how easy it was to use Virtual Reality (VR) to learn and experience what’s required of him on a construction site that he just had to tell as many people as he could.

“I was actually blown away, I told my missus, I told my brother-in-law, father-in-law and a friend over in Australia,” he said.  

Jacob, who recently moved from across the ditch with his young family, was the first person in New Zealand to receive a site safety card after completing a trial run of Site Safe’s new VR Foundation Passport training course.

He was confident these newly gained skills would help him in his search for a job.

The course - which was created in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and VR company SkillsVR - gives job seekers looking to join the construction industry an innovative way to learn crucial on-site safety skills.

Before moving to New Zealand, Jacob was responsible for inducting new workers on forklifts for a major logistics company in Australia.

He hoped more organisations would adopt VR to induct their workers, particularly those that are operating machinery, as he said that it was often a time-consuming process with a lot of potential for accidents.

He suggested workers do the VR induction first; that way, management can monitor their skills and then make an informed decision about when they are put into a real-life situation.

"If you look at it it’s similar to an air pilot simulator, if you can get it down to a fine art, you can actually go [onto the] site, take a video of whatever that site is and say, 'this is what we do here' and also what that will do [is it] will save managers time in getting someone to induct them."

Site Safe NZ Chief Executive Brett Murray said it was great to see some positive feedback coming from those doing the new VR training.

“We continue to see a growing trend of digitisation in construction and as an industry leader in health and safety, Site Safe will remain at the forefront of utilising technology such as VR to provide innovative ways to improve workplace health and safety.

“In the current climate where there are serious skilled labour shortages, it is important that construction, alongside other high-risk industries, are doing all they can to make it a safe and attractive industry to join.

“That’s why Site Safe will continue to work hand-in-hand with our many industry partners and working groups to set the standard for what the sector wants in a foundational construction course.” 

Amanda Nicolle, Director of Industry Partnerships at the Ministry of Social Development, said the Site Safe VR Foundation Passport training course is an innovative training solution.

“We are funding industry-endorsed solutions of this kind to prepare clients for work, and have developed this course in collaboration with industry trainers and SkillsVR as learning experts. It readies people for jobs available now, and employers who want to hire people who have done Site Safe through VR can go directly to to find upcoming expo dates where Site Safe will be available.”

So far there have been several successful trials of Site Safe’s VR Foundation Passport training courses. These will continue to take place at selected companies across the country until late January, followed by trialling within our Site Safe training facilities.  

Further developments on the VR project are expected early next year.

To find out how you can get involved in our VR Foundation training, visit the SkillsVR website at: