RE-GEN OPERATIVES AND MANAGERS PILOT GAMIFIED TRAINING TO HELP OVERCOME LEARNING BARRIERS FOR RESOURCE AND WASTE OPERATIVES

In partnership with Academii and supported by Ufi VocTech Trust, WAMITAB have developed two waste site safety games designed to overcome key learning barriers in the resource and waste management sector.

The games, launched on World Day for Safety & Health at Work, aim to create a more immersive learning environment which will enable employers to deliver targeted training messages quickly to large numbers of operational employees in a fun, engaging and accessible way.

As well as providing valuable opportunities to improve learning outcomes and speed up the time to competence, this gamified approach also creates a new avenue to improved health and safety by engaging learners working in high risk environments and encouraging them to put safety first.

This new online training was developed in response to a Specialist Call from Ufi to explore how a digital approach could support innovation in adult vocational skills provision.

Rebecca Garrod-Waters, CEO of Ufi, said: “At Ufi VocTech Trust, we champion the power of technology to improve skills for work and deliver better outcomes for all and these games are a brilliant example of the way tech can deliver engaging and effective learning to meet the needs of the workplace.”

The project began with a discovery phase to identify key challenges related to upskilling operative-level employees in the sector. Findings showed that the main barriers to learning were linked to motivation and accessibility, including lack of funding, minimal space on-site, time restrictions, literacy and numeracy skills, and a hesitation towards learning in traditional environments.

To support the development of the games, employers were consulted at regular intervals and the training was piloted with operatives and managers from Re-Gen Waste, as well as the Chairperson of Waste Industry Safety and Health Northern Ireland (WISHNI), to ensure the outcomes were aligned with the needs of learners.

Jay Moosaye, Head of Commercial Development at Re-Gen Waste, said: “As Chartered members of CIWM, we were delighted to support the development and user testing of WAMITAB’s app-based learning. The pilot has proven highly valuable to us in many key areas, such as speed and accessibility of training material, immersion and relevance, content absorption and delivery, while transcending language and text-based limitations.”

The games focus on hazard awareness and fire evacuation procedures, two important skills areas among waste operatives, and have been designed to be image-led to overcome language barriers and support those with limited literacy skills, one of the key challenges identified during the initial discovery phase.

Steve Lanigan, CEO of Academii, said: “WAMITAB and Re-Gen Waste have been instrumental in seeking to engage learners on safety critical topics using pioneering, dynamic content to help increase awareness and workplace safety through gamified learning.

“The gamified element helps to break down barriers to education and training, promoting a safety message to help reduce workplace injuries in the recycling sector.”

Upon completing the games, learners will be made aware of relevant WAMITAB qualifications which may offer further training opportunities.

Katie Cockburn, Professional Services Director of WAMITAB, said: “We hope these initial games will provide the blueprint for a vocational learning model which can be utilised in sectors where time is short, funding for learning is limited, and traditional training methods are not addressing some skills gaps which continue to grow. We would like to work closely with professional bodies, trade associations, learning providers and employers to identify if these markets could benefit from a similar solution.”

In celebration of World Day for Safety & Health at Work, the games will be free to access until 30 July 2021. Employers who are interested in developing similar solutions to support the learning needs of their staff are invited to contact WAMITAB for further information. Full details are available here.