VocTech Manufacturing Projects
The following projects are part of our MSF (Manufacturing Skills Fund) cohort.
- Augmented learning for high dexterity manufacturing National Composites Centre (NCC)
- Flavours of Reality - Grimsby Institute for Higher and Further Learning
- IoT Pods for Workplace - Training Coleg Sir Gar
- Making Apprenticeships Work - Youthforce
- Online Development Needs Analysis Tool - The Manufacturing Centre (MTC)
- Using Technology to embed learning in remote settings - AELP
- Virtual Manufacturing - EEF
Augmented learning for high dexterity manufacturing - National Composites Centre (NCC)
The market for composite products is growing and there is the potential for skills shortages, especially for SMEs and this is likely to be a barrier to growth. Manufacturing with composites by layering (lamination) is a manual process. Currently the skills required by laminators are passed on by work shadowing – there is no curriculum or means of assessing what makes a skilled laminator. This project aims to develop training and assessment resources using augmented reality, for employees within SME’s who need lamination skills for composite materials manufacturing; and to explore how this approach could be adapted for other manufacturing processes requiring high dexterity skills. If successful, it will avoid taking skilled laminators away from production lines to train others; and makes one-to-many and distance training possible. The project will be trialed with 12 SMEs already working with the National Composites Centre and local FE colleges delivering apprenticeship content on composites for employers.
Flavours of Reality - Grimsby Institute for Higher and Further Learning
Grimsby Institute is piloting a novel use of Microsoft HoloLens technology to create a ‘mixed reality’ environment for food safety training. Working with key industry partners to combine virtual and augmented reality with the real experience of a production line, will enable learners to ‘test and learn’ skills within a safe environment.
The aim is to meet industry and learner needs by trialing mixed reality technologies, teaching essential skills including manual dexterity and information interpretation by combining real and virtual world experiences. 360° film audio of Icelandic Seachill production lines, will form the basis for a virtual training environment, overlaid with holographic or 2D information to support learning.
Icelandic Seachill, a leading supplier of chilled fish to retail and commercial markets, and industry body Seafish are key partners. Collectively, they will be able to test, evaluate and adapt the product and roll it out to reach more of the 400,000 employees in UK food manufacturing.
IoT Pods for Workplace Training - Coleg Sir Gar
Led by Coleg Sir Gar, based in South West Wales, this project uses an IoT solution to deliver flexible employee training in manufacturing. With an innovative approach that exploits the growing capacity of mobile devices to communicate with each other, it provides work-based learning for employees where and when it is needed. The IoT Pods provide the same collaborative learning support and access to resources as fixed systems but with complete flexibility, minimum infrastructure requirements and significantly less cost. Coleg Sir Gar is using established partnerships with automotive and chemical manufacturers to trial the system, which supports both learning and access to work instructions for production staff. Specialist learning design ensures an intuitive interface for employees with basic IT skills. Through implementation with partner companies, the College will demonstrate the transferability of the IoT Pod training system across industry sectors, including service industries; and show that ad hoc pods can deliver effective and efficient training be and support in a range of different workplace scenarios.
Making Apprenticeships Work - Youthforce
Youthforce plan to introduce radical change in how they deliver training to apprentices in the workplace, using AI (artificial intelligence) through the Wildfire™ tool. Wildfire uses AI to reduce the time and cost involved in creating personalised learning resources and this project will provide a practical demonstration of how AI can simplify and speed up the creation of digital learning content, bringing content creation within the reach of many more organisations.
Youthforce and Wildfire will create, curate and consolidate knowledge components, cost effectively and flexibly to meet the requirement of the New Apprenticeship Standards. Personalised reinforcement of learning will support apprentices to succeed in the challenging new endpoint assessments. This is designed to reduce drop-out and failure which is costly for apprenticeship providers, employers and learners. Available on all devices, where and when it is needed, this can be delivered as a Just in Time rapid rollout tool, to ensure that learning keeps pace with change in the workplace, as it happens.
Online Development Needs Analysis Tool - The Manufacturing Centre (MTC)
SMEs must adopt advanced technologies and processes to increase productivity, including emerging technologies associated with Industry 4.0. These processes are described in competency frameworks which set out the skills needed, but SMEs often lack the means of identifying their skills gaps and accessing the right learning to meet their needs.
Current provision mainly consists of internal assessments in which staff identify their ‘level of confidence’ in completing tasks. These lack measurements or links to new technologies not yet in use. SMEs can struggle to determine the gap between current and required skills; and are swamped with the selection of training available, which makes it difficult to decide what training to invest in and who to invest with.
MCT aim to develop an online TNA to provide SMEs with a fast, easy and free tool to analyse their current skills and identify the skills needed. It will then recommend quality providers of relevant training solutions and access to learning materials.
Using Technology to embed learning in remote settings - AELP
It is challenging to keep learners engaged throughout their learning, particularly during work placement and work experience. Learners may not understand the vocational significance of some learning; and vocationally specific content needs embedding to be remembered. This is increasingly important with the introduction of end point assessments in new apprenticeship standards. This project is addressing this challenge by using various digital tech to provide learners with access to a wide range of bite-sized learning. Working in partnership with Gen2, who are already engaged with manufacturing employers and will host the learning content on their website, this project is piloting ‘learning in context’. Through handheld devices, learners can access learning in the workplace, focusing on standards for manufacturing apprenticeships. QR codes in the work environment will direct learners to bite sized learning in a VLE. Safety and educational posters will be enhanced using AR content to promote engagement and enrich the learning experience.
Virtual Manufacturing - EEF
Modern manufacturing requires businesses to be agile and competent to deliver products and services to evermore demanding customers which requires a workforce with the right skills and knowledge. The manufacturing sector must continually train and develop its staff to be business ready, but with new recruits or redeployment there can be a time lag in raising skills levels.
This project aims to develop a digital environment focused on rapid development and immersive learning to upskilling manufacturing operatives. It will replicate real life production situations and enable the learner to understand the environment and demonstrate competency in quality, fitting parts, managing inventory and collaborative assembly.
Aimed initially at the automotive sector supply chain the project will develop a virtual reality and 3D virtual world which simulates the experience of being on manufacturing production line, the goal is to create a world class vocational training product, customisable for multiple industries.