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Pioneering fire protection training venture has VR technology at its heart

A new venture focusing on passive fire protection and health and safety training in the property and construction sector has been launched in the north west with virtual reality (VR) at its heart, in what is thought to be the “first of its kind” in the UK.

Jason McKnight and Joseph Dillon have set up trainingEXP as a sister company to their construction and project management business RECOM Solutions, which is based in Salford Quays.

The duo have invested a six-figure sum in the venture and have recruited experienced fire protection professional Adam Steed to head its team of trainers.

Steed has joined trainingEXP from Warringtonfire, a testing, inspection and certification company. He was an inspector of fire protection systems registered under Warringtonfire’s Fire Certification Scheme (FIRAS).

The new venture is providing in-depth passive fire protection training aimed at the residential, health and social care, commercial, leisure, education, heritage and industrial sectors as well as fire and rescue services, professionals such as architects, tradespeople and operatives.

VR training that replicates live environments to raise awareness of common fire protection hazards in buildings is a key feature of the courses.

McKnight said: “We have developed innovative and bespoke software which is unlike anything else available in the UK and Europe.

“It works in a similar way to the hazard perception section of the driving theory test. By replicating live environments, such as hospitals, users can take virtual walks around buildings to carry out passive fire surveys and identify fire protection hazards in an immersive way. Unlike other available software, this is entirely interactive and our delegates can interact with the simulations we have created.”

He added: “We are committed to improving fire safety awareness, knowledge and skills across the built environment and to help raise standards. It’s a growing industry and there has been recent legislation which has made the provision of quality hands-on training even more necessary.

“We initially created a training academy for our own specialist passive fire protection operatives, supervisors, project managers and surveyors. However, in response to client demand we decided to expand it into a full-scale venture.

“We believe there is a great need for this service, and we are using VR as a central component of the training to enhance the experience.

“Given our project management and construction experience, the new venture aligns well with what we do as RECOM and we are confident our experienced trainingEXP team led by Adam will deliver a compelling service to the sector.”

The range of online health and safety courses launched by trainingEXP focus on construction environments and cover areas such as asbestos, design, regulation, first aid and manual handling.

All courses are recognised or accredited by industry bodies such as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and the Association for Specialist Fire Protection.

Steed said: “It’s an exciting opportunity to head trainingEXP. Our mission is to help companies and organisations better understand their obligations and provide industry professionals with specialist knowledge that will improve fire safety

“The training aims to create an in-depth understanding that passive fire protection is a life safety feature and compliance within this industry needs to be fully understood to move forward.”

RECOM’s own passive fire protection division is the fastest-growing arm of the group. A raft of contract wins has seen it expand into a nationwide operation, and it has doubled the size of its team of directly-employed installers to over 40 in the past 12 months. The team undertake projects at locations including NHS trusts and hospitals, schools and universities, government offices, social housing schemes, apartment blocks and office buildings.


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