Last year’s National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) International Women’s Day (IWD) Scholarship recipient, Dr Fiona Lamari has developed an innovative approach to engaging with female high school students through a Virtual Construction Site (VCS) Tour.
Over the past 12 months, Dr Lamari, Lecturer in Construction Management at QUT, has developed and rolled out a VCS Tour. It mimics a realistic building site and showcases the diversity of career options available in the construction industry. During the VCS Tour, students can look around in 360º while hearing onsite professionals as if spoken to on an actual construction site.
The VCS Tour brings construction sites to students, in particular those in regional locations, and is the first of its kind to be used in this way. Dr Lamari’s aim is to use the technology to ultimately increase female participation in construction-related careers. At the completion of the project, Dr Lamari’s research findings conclude:
- The VCS Tour experience had a positive impact on changing students’ perceptions that construction is a male-dominated career choice with a 34% improvement and 40% improvement for regional students;
- Four out of five students believe they have an increased understanding of peoples’ roles in construction after the VCS Tour;
- The VCS Tour experience increased students’ level of interest in the construction industry;
- The VCS Tour experience triggered students’ interest in a construction career, with an 11% increase in regional students; and
- School teachers could see huge potential in using the VCS Tour as a teaching aid.
As a result of her VCS Tour and her research findings, Dr Lamari has made recommendations that will enable schools, universities and broader construction networks to better engage with female high school students to communicate the potential for a construction career, especially in the immersive technology space. This is turn will help lead to a more equitable industry where women fully participate.
Follow the link to download a full copy of Dr Lamari’s research report.