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GAME ON – NSW Education teams up with Tradiebot to deliver virtual training and gaming software

1st April 2020

Tradiebot has teamed up with the NSW Department of Education along with Suncorp and 3M to deliver a first of its kind virtual reality and gaming technology application targeting the next generation of tradies via the high school network.

The solution called Tradieforce will also be supported by a mobile app connecting potential apprentices and job seekers with employers and managing their ongoing progress.

The program is set to be rolled out later this year in term four of 2020 in Sydney’s Central and North Shore Region, where students will get to experience state-of-the-art virtual training and assessments in spray painting inside a virtual trade training and gaming world.

The program uses virtual reality to gamify the process of learning the foundations of automotive spray painting, through immersive garage environments, customisation of their own car, competitions and guided paint application. Other features include a leader board and a virtual showroom of cars created and painted by other participants. Additional skills such as welding, panel beating and plastic welding will be implemented as the software evolves.

The Australian developed, first of its kind solution uses the latest in hardware and software products from global brands such as Intel, Oculus by Facebook and Google Firebase providing the best possible engagement and user experience. Set to change the game on how kids are enticed into the trade industries that has become a growing concern over the past decade with many trades having to turn to overseas skilled migrants to fill the growing shortfall.

These new VR tools appeal to the younger generation who are growing up as gamers and using virtual reality headsets in the classroom for education or at home playing games.

The program is initially focusing on the spray-painting trade and will expand into other trade skills, with current estimates claiming a short fall of over 1000 spray painters in the Australian industry and with similar shortages around the globe.

Tradiebot is looking at including various other industry partners in the program who would offer expert advice, mentoring, training, and career opportunities in spray painting to suitable candidates. Trades have proven to be a great pathway to promotions into management roles and even owning your own business. Many successful business owners started as a tradie.

Mario Dimovski – CEO and owner of Tradiebot, is one such tradie himself and started his career as a plastic repair technician straight out of school at the age of 16.

Dimovski stated it’s an ideal and very secure career pathway for anyone wanting a career as a trade person. With the growing skills shortage, most repair or service trades are always going to be in demand. Trade positions have also become very lucrative, with salary packages exceeding many white-collar careers that require a university degree. You also get a 4-year head start in the workforce that could result in saving for a house deposit or enjoying the finer things in life.

I remember always having my own money as I worked as an apprentice, while some of my friends who went to University had to borrow money to support their education. Driven by parents’ perceptions and industry culture, for far too long people have dismissed trades as a dirty and poorer option in favour of University. Though in fact, trades such as automotive, these days are run by multimillion-dollar operations using state of the art equipment and technology, house repair facilities that resemble car showrooms and include some of the best staff training and care programs around. On the foundation of a trade you can further explore various opportunities either in management or starting your own business as I did, knowing that your trade is always there to fall back on said Dimovski.  

The ability to train, assess, and connect with the next generation through state-of-the-art technology in their own environment is a massive leap toward filling the skills shortage in this select trade. The current process of introducing and training someone in spray painting is drawn-out and expensive, including having the trainees at a training centre with spray booths managed by a trainer, fitting candidates with safety gear and then wasting paint, in many cases only to find out the candidate has no interest in becoming a spray painter. The developed platform allows users to try a new skill in the comfort of their classroom or training centre through the use of virtual reality and gamification, significantly reducing costs while increasing exposure.

Peter O’Doherty Senior Project Officer | Regional Industry Education Partnerships Training Services NSW states when it comes to supporting secondary students to become job ready, industry plays a critical role. That’s why the NSW Government is establishing the Regional Industry Education Partnership (RIEP) initiative to strengthen connections between industry and schools. Positive, engaging connections with employers, and an understanding of local employment options, can help students build strong career pathways while at school.

Gamification is the practice of applying game design elements outside the realm of gaming. It can be used to provide school students,job seekers and employees with the relevant trade skills, training and assessments in an enjoyable and familiar way, rewarding users with unlockable features and achievements based on progress. In addition to encouraging participants to better connect with and understand the content, virtual reality and gamification can also generate enthusiasm and competitiveness between users, further improving user engagement and outcomes.

Director of Engineering and Operational Technology at Tradiebot, said, what we are developing is industry leading and could be the key that trade industries have been looking for to increase exposure to the next generation and aid in attracting new talent. Our system helps users realise the opportunities they have in following a trades pathway.

After the initial roll out in late 2020 further plans to extend the program to all the states and target general job seekers are in motion that will be followed by global deployment via Tradiebot’s network of partners and industry contacts.