TRURO, N.S. – The federal government is investing more than $690,000 in a project that will test the value of virtual reality (VR) training simulators for truck drivers.
The research, spearheaded by Trucking Human Resources Sector Council (THRSC) – Atlantic, is one of 10 new initiatives being funded through Canada’s Future Skills Centre.
“We want to look at assessing drivers and be able to look at the VR simulators. Is there a potential it can support, upgrade, enhance skills for truck drivers?” asks Kelly Henderson, executive director of THRSC – Atlantic.
The council hopes to monitor 150 drivers over the next two years, including new Canadians entering the trucking industry through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot or other channels. The work will be based on four iMVR Iris simulators with eye-tracking capabilities.
This won’t be THRSC – Atlantic’s first exposure to the technology, however. The council already has a fixed and mobile simulator, which to date has focused on presentations for high school students. “It’s really changed their perception,” Henderson says of the way it introduces students to the skills that truck drivers require.
“It’s going to be fascinating,” Henderson says. “It’ll be interesting to see what comes out.”
The Future Skills Centre funding is part of a $7.65-million investment to test “novel approaches to skills development.” Other initiatives will focus on oil and gas workers in Calgary, adult learners in Manitoba, at-risk auto workers in Ontario, mid-career workers with disabilities, and cashiers and meat processing workers across Canada.
“The nature of work is changing, and Canadians need to be equipped with the skills necessary to find the good, quality jobs of the future. These 10 new innovative projects will test new training approaches, across a number of sectors, to support Canadian workers to keep their skills up to date and in demand,” says Patty Hajdu, minister of workforce development and labor.
The Future Skills Centre is a partnership between Ryerson University, the Conference Board of Canada, and a non-profit research organization known as Blueprint.
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