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Wainwrights look to the future in virtual reality

VR simulator

Minerals Matter brings latest VR simulator technology to John Wainwright & Co’s outreach programme

WHEN John Wainwright & Co’s human resources director Lisa Saunders realized that her company’s outreach to young people needed a boost, Minerals Matter – an initiative tasked with encouraging people into the sector – knew just who and what to send.

MP Futures’ Dr Dave Underhill travelled to the Somerset Earth Science Centre at the beginning of February 2019 and took with him the MPQC's latest training tool, a mobile plant simulator.


Using the latest in technology and featuring a virtual-reality headset, the simulator allows the user to operate a number of items of plant in a fully rendered virtual quarry, giving the user a real taste of working in the sector.

Having been shown how to set up the machine, representatives from Wainwrights, Hanson, and the Earth Science Centre put the machine through its paces. The simulator received a resounding thumbs up, with all involved convinced that it would be a draw for young people.

‘It was a long day, but worth it,’ said Dr Underhill. ‘In fact, the number-one concern of the people here was how are they possibly going to manage the number of youngsters who’ll want to have a go on the simulator when they see it.’

Having taken temporary delivery of the simulator, Ms Saunders and the rest of John Wainwright & Co will be showcasing it at school events across Somerset in the coming months.

In an ageing industry where the average age is 56, the need to recruit young and capable replacements has never been greater. Faced with this existential threat, companies have rallied behind the Minerals Matter project in an effort to get the next generation excited about the sector.

To find out more about how Minerals Matter can aid business in encouraging people into the extractives industry, visit:


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