VR and AI for all: Embracing new technologies at Rochdale Sixth Form College

Categories: Salford Business School

What did your child learn at college today? Well, if they attend Rochdale Sixth Form College, they may have been given the opportunity to test out cutting edge technology, thanks to the University of Salford’s ‘Tech Truck’.

Luke Davies, Lynne Barrow, Mark Sanders from SBS in tech truck

With all the media noise around artificial intelligence and new technologies, the University of Salford Business School recognises the importance of preparing young people to become the workforce of the future, by encouraging them to embrace these new innovations and work alongside them to boost productivity and output.

Students in Rochdale were offered the opportunity to try out new virtual reality technology and video displays inside the ‘Tech Truck’: a converted van which catches the eye with its huge screen on one side. Utilising VR headsets, the students were able to take part in simulated scenarios, and then receive personalised feedback on their performance. It’s all part of the University’s drive to socialise new technology and create opportunities for young people to have a go with tech they might not have used in college before.

The event was the first in a series of collaborations between the University and local schools and colleges, and links to the wider Greater Manchester Tech Talent Consortium, which looks to raise aspirations and get more young people interested in careers in the tech space. With the Northwest region already a hotspot for technology businesses, events like this serve to demonstrate to local young people the vast array of career opportunities.

As well as taking part in the virtual reality immersive environment, students took part in Lego Serious Play Sessions and listened to careers panel sessions where Salford Business School academics and a range of other professionals shared the stories of their career journeys: often arriving at their current roles through unconventional routes.

Feedback from the students was one of an inspiring afternoon, led by passionate and engaging staff.

Lynne Barrow, Director of Recruitment at Salford Business School, commented: “Working with colleges like Rochdale Sixth Form College is truly a privilege. Some of the media commentary around new technologies like VR and AI is negative, including the view that AI may reduce the number of jobs available. At Salford, we know it’s simply a case of preparing our students for the jobs of the future and equipping them with the necessary skills to benefit from emerging technology. That’s what today’s event was all about: demonstrating the potential of AI, VR and emerging technologies, whilst encouraging young people to have confidence they will have an enriching and fulfilling career.”

Samantha Mongan, Student Performance and Development Leader at Rochdale Sixth Form College, added: “Thanks to Salford Business School for bringing the Tech Truck along today. There was a real buzz around the college and that was down to the academics and employers taking time out of their week to engage with our students. The students loved trying out the latest technological innovations. The Tech Truck and VR session was a fantastic tangible demonstration of the pathways to career success, which our students can take, particularly in the tech sector.’

Are you a school or college who would benefit from a visit from Salford’s Tech Truck? Email recruitment@salford.ac.uk to find out more and for an informal chat.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.