Ufi Charitable trust, an independent grant funding body which supports the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, has awarded £125,000 for advanced Internet of Things technology to support workplace training.
Ufi is funding South West Wales college, Coleg Sir Gar, who are developing Internet of Things (IoT) technology in conjunction with manufacturing employers, to allow training resources to be shared across production environments with minimal additional infrastructure, resource or cost requirements.
The project will reportedly seek to exploit the peer-to-peer networking capability of mobile devices to screen-cast educational materials to smart display screens around the production environment. Mobile devices will access online resources via Wi-Fi and display directly to local screens anywhere in the workplace.
Networked, collaborative learning systems do exist in traditional learning environments, but this project aims to see them become mobile and therefore more quickly set up wherever they are needed, in the workplace.
The investment is part of Ufi’s Manufacturing Skills Fund which will invest £1m in projects that use digital technology to improve how vocational learning is delivered in the manufacturing sector.
Every one of the 2.7 million people currently employed within UK manufacturing need regular training to upskill in light of rapid industry developments. However, providing access to training for the sector’s workforce presents real business challenges. If training is delivered offsite, it can be costly in terms of resource and productivity, while onsite education can be tricky to deliver without compromising health and safety, or quality assurance.
Coleg Sir Gar’s partnership with Ufi seeks to meet these challenges by developing ad hoc pods for ‘Workplace Learning’, powered by IoT technology, which hopes to deliver effective training and support in a range of different workplace scenarios and contexts. The project aims to demonstrate that ad hoc pods can be set up easily and used by employees with basic IT skills to access efficient, cost-effective learning.
Coleg Sir Gar is described as having a very clear focus on utilising technology for the benefit of learners, no matter where they are, a focus which has been honed over the past 20 years.
Core to all of Ufi’s Manufacturing Skills Fund projects are strong partnerships between learning providers and manufacturers. This project will be carried out in partnership with manufacturing companies in the automotive and electronics sectors and the benefits to the companies and to learners will be central to project evaluation. Coleg Sir Gar will use the project to demonstrate that this approach is readily transferable between industry sectors and scalable, with the intention of rolling out the benefit more widely across manufacturing industry in the future.