From education to employment

Construction goes virtual


Digital learning has taken an innovative step forward in Barnsley College’s (@barnsleycollege) Construction department during the COVD-19 pandemic. The College’s Learning Technologies Unit has utilised its drone technologies and has been working with local businesses to create virtual reality content to place students in a simulated construction environment. As well as the drone footage, students have had access to virtual reality construction sites through ‘real life’ virtual site tours that have been donated to the College by the local businesses.

Over the past year, students and staff have been adapting to a different way of learning within the Construction department. To ensure that the College continued to deliver outstanding learning, this solution was created as a way to ensure that students still received a ‘practical’ element to the course in a safe manner.

Usually, Construction students would have the opportunity to visit live sites but due to the current climate this has not been possible. This partnership with local businesses has allowed the department to embed digital learning into classes and has provided students with a real insight into what live construction sites looks like.

Local businesses that have been involved in the project include:

  • Barnsley Brickwork Co 
  • Bumford Heating Ltd.
  • Deadline Digital
  • Engie 
  • Fortem 
  • Henry Boot Construction Ltd.
  • Hull and Barnsley Railway Stock Fund
  • Keepmoat Homes 
  • Tarmac a CRH Company 
  • The Building Block – Sheffield City Council 
  • The previous Mayor of Barnsley
  • Wates Construction Group 

The department also arranged several online interviews with notable employees within the industry that have provided students with an insight into how to achieve a successful career within the sector.

Rob Lea, eSystems Technologist at Barnsley College, said:

“The Learning Technologies Unit met with the Construction department last year to discuss the barriers to learning that our students may face due to the current climate. 

“We could not provide a substitute for learning in an actual physical environment, but we could start the process of building a digital catalogue which is valid and future-proof to cater to the needs of our Construction students.”

Leyonie Chambers, Learning Technology Assistant at Barnsley College, added:

“When it came to the in-house creation of digital content, we had to factor a number of things in to ensure it was professional. The goal of the project was not only to provide important construction knowledge that would help students understand the industry but also to offer guidance on how to start their careers within it.”

Barnsley College is working with businesses to lead the economic recovery and meet employers’ needs, both now and for future roles, by providing students and adults with the skills to succeed.

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