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Churchill Wins IWFM Impact Award for VR Training Programme

Churchill has won the IWFM Impact Award for Technology for Project Oculus, its Virtual Reality (VR) training programme for cleaning operatives. The programme has been specifically designed for cleaning operatives on trains as rail is one of the key sectors in which Churchill operates.

Project Oculus’ immersive VR technology won the award due to its non-traditional approach to training through technology. Rather than sitting in front of a computer or reading manuals, the VR software fully immerses cleaning operatives in the actual tasks they will perform. The programme allows trainees to virtually walk through a train carriage and complete turn-around tasks and includes training around security and safety procedures.

This creates a tailored and exciting experience for trainees that offers individualised feedback that can be immediately actioned. The project aims to make training more inclusive for neurodiverse individuals and offers multiple language options.

The project won due to its innovation and agile methods, driven by VR design partners across weekly development phases where the team tested and reviewed the technology to create the best possible model. The project was said to be harnessing the latest technology to deliver a modern training package and immerse users in a convincing world of on-the-job experiences, creating an excellent technology innovation for the future.

Mel Taylor, group HR director at Churchill, said: “It is a fact that training which appeals to more of our senses, or is delivered across multiple mediums, or combines the theory with the practical helps us understand and retain more information.

“Using VR for training gave us the opportunity to deliver something innovative and transformative for a specific group of our people in the rail sector. With a VR experience, our cleaners get immersed in a realistic, digital rail carriage environment where they get to see, hear, touch, move around and interact during their training.

“It has been so much more effective, entertaining, and enjoyable for all than literature-led experiences. We have had 150 cleaning operatives complete the course so far and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The endorsement from our clients in the rail sector has been fantastic, having understood our vision for the training and how it will impact the industry in the future. They themselves were blown away by how truly immersive it is.

“This is just the beginning, having proved the concept, we see a range of future applications for the technology and the approach for improving learning outcomes.”


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