The LMCI: Investing in Technology for a 21st Century IUPAT Workforce
Whether you’re a gamer or not, you have no doubt seen how virtual reality (VR) is quickly becoming more and more popular in our everyday lives. When companies began designing goggles to utilize our smartphones to go on a virtual adventure, literally millions of people suddenly had instant access to the technology.
However, VR is not only for play, it has long been used for collaboration and research in education, science and medicine. It is also increasingly used more in training in fields like the military, healthcare, retail, and even the NFL. Another field in which VR training is becoming more utilized is construction. That’s right, construction, and the Painters and Allied Trades LMCI is working with one of the leaders in VR development to put more of some of the most advanced VR training devices in IUPAT training centers across the United States and Canada.
Serious Labs (www.SeriousLabs.com) was founded in 2005, and has since been revolutionizing the way people learn with VR through simulation and the utilization of elements of video game playing. The LMCI, which works for the benefit of IUPAT members and their employers, is collaborating with Serious Labs to generate research that proves the benefits of VR training in the construction industry.
The purpose of the research is to show those who train in the trades that VR training will offer, among other things, a return on investment in the equipment, as well as provide unique advantages over the traditional all hands-on training. Armed with this data, it is hoped that the equipment and technology will become more accepted, and therefore more readily available as the demand grows in the field.
Anton Ruesing, director of the LMCI and the IUPAT Finishing Trades Institute, has no doubt the study Serious Labs is undertaking will show hard evidence that VR is here to stay in training in construction. “The IUPAT and FTI has been using VR training for years in our industrial coating training, and our welding courses and it has been very well received by our trainers,” said Ruesing to the Journal. “The savings in materials and the advantages of training in a completely safe and controlled environment alone make the case for VR, and we are going to continue to put new tools in the hands of our trainers to make certain IUPAT members are using state-of-the-art equipment to remain the best trained workforce on the job site.”