Serious Labs is an award-winning technology company that develops virtual reality (VR) training solutions for the global heavy equipment industry. Recently, the company completed a demo day with Women Building Futures, an organization that offers programs and services to help unemployed and underemployed women find and connect to careers that pay above living wage. Women Buiding Futures students were able to try out Serious Labs’ VR Simulator for Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs). The MEWP Simulator allows students to train as if they were working on an elevated platform without ever being exposed to danger.

Serious Labs’ award-winning MEWP VR Simulator is a hands-on learning solution designed to assess and train operators on boom, slab scissor, and rough terrain scissor lifts. Traditionally, exposure to these pieces of equipment is limited in training settings due to the cost, time, and potential safety concerns. However, with Serious Labs’ technology students were given access to hands-on, scenario-based training in the comforts of a classroom setting.

In addition to their use in assessment and upskilling around the world, Serious Labs simulators help make heavy equipment training accessible to groups that are historically underrepresented in the industry. Available in multiple languages, the simulators provide personalized instruction in a welcoming VR environment. The recent Women Building Futures demo provided a unique window into the introductory skills to assist women in beginning a new career in an area where they have been traditionally made up of only a small fraction of the workforce.

With limited to no previous industry experience, students that tried the simulators were eager and excited to get their hands on the new immersive technology. “It was great,” said one participant. “I love it, it feels like reality.”

For one student being able to try a difficult maneuver on an elevated platform without risk to herself or the equipment was the most impressive part: “If I had the opportunity to train on that before getting on the equipment, I would much prefer that for sure.”

While other students anticipated that she would be intimidated by using VR for the first time, she was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable she felt in the setting: “With the VR it made me relax right into it. It felt like everything was literally all around me.”

This level of hands-on accessibility is appreciated by Women Building Futures as they strive to prepare women for careers that lead to economic security and help transform their students’ lives.

Serious Labs has delivered VR solutions for multiple industry leaders around the globe including United Rentals, Bechtel, DOW, Syncrude, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Woman Building Futures is a non-profit organization based in Edmonton, Alberta. They offer programs and support services to help women explore and connect to careers that not only support their own security but often that of their children.