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New Zealand

Virtual reality tool a game changer for training NZers on benefit

Construction businesses in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development will start using virtual reality technology to prepare people for jobs in the industry, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today.

"This government is committed to upskilling and preparing people on benefit so they can access jobs in industries where there are shortages like Construction and today’s announcement is a game changer," Carmel Sepuloni said.

"The use of virtual technology will allow us to prepare more people for roles in the industry anytime, anywhere and will save time and money.

"By using the virtual reality headset, a person can test their skills driving a dump truck or operating a digger or managing traffic on a work site. The experience of doing a particular activity in virtual reality is an effective way of practising some crucial skills required for the job, safely and in a cost-effective way.

"Employers win too. The selection process for employers is streamlined because they can quickly see if a potential employee has the right skills before employing them.

"The tool will also help people with limited numeracy and literacy skills who respond well to learning and training through gamification and that will allow us to upskill and prepare more New Zealanders for employment," Carmel Sepuloni said.

Minister of Employment Willie Jackson says this latest initiative is part of the government’s employment strategy to support industries and regions to thrive by ensuring they are well served by the skills and training system.

"Business groups and industry have worked with MSD to develop the tool so that it’s fit for purpose and meets the needs of the client and the construction industry.

"We are committed to helping employers find skilled workers and the focus on the construction industry is particularly important given the need to improve capacity and capability," Willie Jackson said.

MSD has partnered with Joy Business Academy and industry partners including Civil Contractors New Zealand, Prefab NZ, Downer, HEB, Evolution Road Services, Fulton Hogan, Wilson Earthmoving Group, Fletcher Living, Construction Health and Safety New Zealand and Concision to develop the tool.

The pilot starts in September-October and will be rolled out to more industry partners and MSD service centres in due course.

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