Dark-haired woman in green coat with white blouse standing in front of trees.
VR Education Holdings co-founder Sandra Whelan. Image: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

Waterford-based VR Education to create up to 10 new jobs

16 Apr 2019

Waterford VR company noted for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Dublin and London Stock Exchange-listed tech firm VR Education Holdings has revealed it plans to grow its 37-member team by at least 25pc over the next 12 to 24 months, generating between nine and new 10 jobs.

The Waterford-based virtual-reality (VR) firm is currently in recruitment mode and is looking for web and game developers as well as 3D artists from anywhere in Ireland to join the team.

‘The last two years have seen our company launch an array of new creations, move into new markets, partner with educators across the globe and win several awards from our industry peers’

VR Education was founded by husband-and-wife team David and Sandra Whelan. The company last year raised £6m in a listing on Dublin’s Enterprise Securities Market and the AIM in London.

Its Immersive VR Education platform provides VR content that can be used in schools, colleges, universities, research centres and corporate training to teach any subject in a virtual environment. Students can fully immerse themselves in the experience, making hard-to-visualise concepts easy to understand.

Bringing education to life through VR

In recent weeks Siliconrepublic.com reported how the company released a new historical VR experience entitled Raid on the Ruhr, which recreates in realistic detail the epic Dambusters raid of World War II.

It was the latest historical recreation by the Waterford-based tech firm and its Immersive VR Education subsidiary, which includes a repertoire that brings VR users back to crucial moments in time, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the Apollo 11 space mission.

Last year the company, a previous Start-up of the Week on Siliconrepublic.com, worked with the BBC central VR team to develop 1943: Berlin Blitz, a recreation of the experience of a World War II bombing raid over Berlin.

The company has also developed a VR solution for healthcare in partnership with Oxford University that will help to train health professionals in Kenya.

“The last two years have seen our company launch an array of new creations, move into new markets, partner with educators across the globe and win several awards from our industry peers,” said co-founder and chief operating officer Sandra Whelan.

“The speed of our success was not at all what we first envisaged when we set up our business, and we are so grateful for our achievements, but we know that none of this would have been possible without the backing, expertise and commitment of our team. Our people are creative, out-of-box thinkers, inspired by the ‘possibility’ of software design, platform development, animation and global reach. And now we need to expand this team, to add like-minded talented individuals who can bring our mission to fruition, which is to establish our Engage software as the world’s leading digital education and corporate training platform.”

Sandra described the current market as “competitive” in terms of attracting skilled developers but it also keeps employers on their toes and helps them avoid complacency when it comes to employee engagement practices. “Employers now need to do what they can to foster a favourable environment for their team and to ensure learning and development is facilitated and made possible throughout the organisation.”

Part of the company’s response to the new landscape is a ‘Flexible Friday’ initiative where employees have the option of taking every second Friday off, and the company is trialling the programme in May and June.

“We have a lot of workers here at VR Education from the EU mainland and from the UK. When a Flexible Friday syncs up with a public bank holiday, this can provide up to four days for those workers to travel home and see family before returning back to work.

“Our workforce is the heart of our business and allowing people to achieve a good work-life balance will lead to better productivity and allow great ideas to flourish,” Sandra said.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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