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Enhancing education with innovation: workplace training goes virtual

Release date:
1 September 2020
Virtual reality isn’t just for video games – bp is embracing simulation technology as a more efficient and effective tool to train employees in everything from drilling techniques to diversity and inclusion.

bp has partnered with software company Immerse to create a series of new virtual reality training courses that give employees a safe place to practice their skills, no matter where they’re located. 


Driving digital and innovation


The initiative is one example of how bp is expanding the use of digital technology and innovation across the business. 

The tool can deliver training programs either through virtual reality or laptop browser, providing all bp staff – including those working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic – access to the system. 

Anthony Del Barto, bp learning technology manager, says that in addition to supporting the company’s digitalization efforts, the new tool offers cost savings and other benefits.  


“It’s increasing safety by giving our employees a safe place to practice and fail, reducing costs by alleviating the need for them to travel, and creating an internal ecosystem that allows us to continuously improve our training programs.” 


Emee Ermel, bp subsurface learning manager, adds that the new system also enables bp to design its own training content without requiring the use of specific headsets or equipment. 

“We can start simple and build on to what we have,” she says. “It’s a very agile, modular approach.” 

Diving deeper 

Ermel says the new tool provides an opportunity for geoscientists and engineers to physically see in a virtual space what could be happening in the reservoirs. 


“We rely heavily on simulation models and sound science, but we rarely ever get to visualize what is actually happening at a pore scale level,” she says. “Immerse VR allows us to not only show visualizations of what is happening, but it also allows us to integrate everything from the rock and fluids in the reservoir to the wellbore and up through the facilities.” 

This gives individuals the ability to visualize what is happening across the value chain and understand how their actions affect the entire system. 

Beyond technical training 

Del Barto says that while the initial focus of the platform was to provide technical training, the tool’s capabilities also enable bp to deliver a variety of other simulated environments to develop soft skills, including role-play exercises where managers can practice having difficult conversations with their employees. 

“The platform is really engaging and immersive,” he says. “It’s a different way to learn – something that people can truly be engaged in as opposed to just clicking through a learning module.”