The new view…


Job seeker Jacob Hedley was so astounded by how easy it was to use Virtual Reality (VR) to learn and experience what’s required of him on a construction site that he just had to tell as many people as possible.

“I was actually blown away. I told my missus, I told my brother-in-law, father-in-law and a friend over in Australia,” says Hedley.

He recently moved from Australia with his young family, and was the first person in New Zealand to receive a site safety card after completing a trial run of Site Safe’s new VR Foundation Passport training course.

Hedley says he is confident these newly gained skills would help him in his search for a job.

The course – created in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and VR company SkillsVR – gives job seekers looking to join the construction industry an innovative way to learn crucial on-site safety skills.

Before moving to New Zealand, Hedley was responsible for inducting new workers on forklifts for a major logistics company in Australia.

He hoped more organisations would adopt VR to induct their workers, particularly those that are operating machinery, as he said that it was often a time-consuming process with a lot of potential for accidents.

He suggested workers do the VR induction first; that way, management can monitor their skills and then make an informed decision about when they are put into a real-life situation.

“If you look at it it’s similar to an air pilot simulator, if you can get it down to a fine art, you can actually go [onto the] site, take a video of whatever that site is and say, ‘this is what we do here’. He adds that will save managers time in getting someone to induct them.

Site Safe NZ chief executive Brett Murray says it was great to see some positive feedback coming from those doing the new VR training.

“We continue to see a growing trend of digitisation in construction and as an industry leader in health and safety, Site Safe will remain at the forefront of utilising technology such as VR to provide innovative ways to improve workplace health and safety.

“In the current climate where there are serious skilled labour shortages, it is important that construction, alongside other high-risk industries, are doing all they can to make it a safe and attractive industry to join.

“That’s why Site Safe will continue to work hand-in-hand with our many industry partners and working groups to set the standard for what the sector wants in a foundational construction course.”

Amanda Nicolle, director of Industry Partnerships at the Ministry of Social Development, says the Site Safe VR Foundation Passport training course is an innovative training solution.

“We are funding industry-endorsed solutions of this kind to prepare clients for work and have developed this course in collaboration with industry trainers and SkillsVR as learning experts. It readies people for jobs available now, and employers who want to hire people who have done Site Safe through VR can go directly to to find upcoming expo dates where Site Safe will be available.”

So far there have been several successful trials of Site Safe’s VR Foundation Passport training courses. These will continue to take place at selected companies across the country until late January, followed by trialling within Site Safe training facilities.

Further developments on the VR project are expected early next year.

To find out how you can get involved in VR Foundation training, visit the SkillsVR website at