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Coatings specialist leads the way in training innovation

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Working in partnership with Scunthorpe’s North Lindsey College, coatings specialist Jack Tighe has successfully trialled Virtual Reality technology (VR) in order to offer the Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship Standard.

Said to be one of the first times the technology has been used in the UK, it allows users to experience blasting and spraying techniques in a safe and sustainable way, while also being economically-friendly and controlling waste management

Jack Tighe Training Manager John Whittaker said: “Technology is advancing all the time and we aim to be at the forefront. Apprentices use technology every day and have embraced the VR world of training. The potential of this programme is endless, as the course, which is in its infancy, creates a safe learning environment.”

Henk van Uden of Greenday Training, who delivered the VR training sessions, added: “The demonstrations we have been delivering are to train in the virtual way for sandblasting, stripe coating and spraying. The apprentices have enjoyed using the equipment and have seen improvements already.

“Using this equipment will improve their techniques and allows them to paint without actually using products.”

The first intake of apprentices completed their 18-month apprenticeship last month (August).

Jack Tighe said a second intake are now studying for completion in April 2021, and a third intake is scheduled to begin in October.

The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) helped to develop the Apprenticeship Standard with Highways England through its Bridgework Sector Scheme Committees.

BCSA Director of Health, Safety & Training Peter Walker said: “Jack Tighe has recognised that the new Apprenticeship Standard can be implemented with the assistance of its local college and if others in the industry want to address their lack of trained young people, needed to replace an already ageing workforce, they could use this model to help resolve this potential problem.”

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