Many prisoners have complex vocational learning challenges including poor essential skills, a lack of qualifications and little work experience. Construction is often a sector of choice to secure employment once they leave prison. SITE IT will develop and test an immersive training experience in construction Health & Safety, to be delivered in the prison environment using Virtual Reality, to prepare them for the workplace.

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