SITE IT Phase 2

NIACRO

Interrupted by the pandemic, this project aims to complete the innovative work of SITE IT to develop a VR training and assessment tool for use in prisons. Many people in prison face complex vocational learning challenges including poor essential skills, a lack of qualifications and little work experience. They often choose to work in construction once they leave prison. SITE IT will help prepare them for the workplace by providing an immersive training experience in construction Health & Safety, delivered in the prison environment using Virtual Reality.

Learners, selected from the prison population, will move through three distinct learning zones within a virtual building site, undertaking tasks along the way, all forming units of an OCN Level 1 qualification in Health & Safety in a Construction Environment. Delivered through headsets (without internet connection), the application will capture how learners perform in the virtual tasks and a ‘debrief’ session with a construction trainer will form part of the learners’ experience.

The Construction Industry Training Board Northern Ireland (CITBNI) will guide the development process and engage construction employers in the testing to ensure the content is ‘fit for purpose’ for those hoping to secure work in construction. Post-release work placements will also be offered to the learners.

SITE IT Phase 1 developed and partially tested the solution: a VR training and assessment tool comprising three of the five units of Open College Network Level 1 qualification in Construction Site Health & Safety. However as prisons could not be accessed during 2020-21, the system was tested with people released, construction employers and trainers. Positive feedback indicated that the system was an engaging means of building skills, confidence, motivation and experience amongst those furthest from work. Phase 2 of the project will complete the VR application and test the system with learners in prison.

SITE IT is a collaboration between the software company Sentireal, CITBNI, and NIACRO, with the support of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.