NCR Tradiebot

Tradiebot runs a VR training console pilot in Sydney

Tradiebot has teamed up with the NSW Department of Education and key collision repair industry partners to launch Ready, Tradie Go!, a digital skills high school program designed to engage the next generation of automotive apprentices using the latest Virtual Reality (VR) technology and a mobile app developed by the Australian immersive technology company.

The initiative brings together industry stakeholders and global leaders such as 3M, Axalta Coating Systems, Capital SMART and the Australian Association of Progressive Repairers (AAPR). Together these stakeholders have collaborated to provide inquisitive students information on pathways from the classroom to an apprenticeship within the collision industry.

The pilot debuted last month to huge interest with 56 students across three high schools on the NSW North Shore using two of Tradiebot’s all new Tradieforce VR consoles, one sponsored by NSW Education the other by Axalta, enabling students to try automotive spray painting on a virtual car. Of these, 38 students have signed up to attend the second stage of the program and will visit the 3M Innovation Centre in Sydney in early 2021 to try hands-on collision-based skills.

The pilot shared promotional videos that showcased collision repair developments and a new look industry featuring the SMART collision facilities, state of the art Axalta training centres and a view into what the future holds for advancements in vehicle technology by 3M. This all works together to highlight potential careers in repairing or serving the vehicles of the future.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having major impacts on not only the way we interact, but also daily business operations and travel, it has made traditional forms of training more difficult. Businesses and training organisations are now seeking new approaches to training to be able to provide staff with the necessary skills and understanding required to undertake work on the ever-changing, complex vehicles of today. By utilising remote digital solutions such as those Tradiebot has to offer, it enables training to be undertaken in real time, anywhere and at a time that will suit each individual.” - said Peter O’Doherty, Senior Project Officer, NSW Education Partnerships.

The Tradieforce Console provides school students the very latest in portable VR hardware and software, and what makes this so engaging is the integrated gamification of learning the fundamentals of various automotive trades, with an initial focus on spray painting. The console combines an Intel NUC microcomputer equipped with an elite graphics card together with an Oculus Rift S VR headset, which pair effectively with Tradiebot software to generate interest.

It was encouraging to see the very strong interest shown by the students taking part in the pilot, something we have not seen for a while with other collision-based school programs. This could be the missing piece of the puzzle that will attract new apprentices to the industry, and Tradiebot has really delivered a fantastic product. Our members and the entire industry will greatly benefit from using such new innovative technology.” - said Greg Preston, CEO of the AAPR, who participated in the pilot.

Ready, Tradie Go! offers high school students the opportunity to visit the Axalta Training Centre and 3M Innovation Centre in Sydney, and through this multi-step opportunity, students can gain a true understanding of what a trade career will offer within today’s society and highlight the multiple avenues for career progression.

Steven Brett, ANZ Managing Director of Axalta Coating Systems said: “Axalta is committed to supporting students and ensuring the future of our industry. The ‘Ready, Tradie, Go’ initiative allows them to experience the rewarding and creative aspects of a career in vehicle painting without having to leave their school environment – introducing them to a career they may not have previously considered. Through this interactive experience, we hope to ignite an interest in pursuing the vehicle painting trade and continue to help them grow and contribute to the industry’s future.”

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