Virtual Reality and Immersive Experiences – coming to a venue near you!

Following significant funding * two state-of-the-art, low carbon Virtual Reality (VR) hubs will soon be available at both Accrington and Rossendale College and Nelson and Colne College!

As well as a mobile VR unit that can be taken direct to local businesses, schools, events and roadshows!

What are they?
  • 2 x 6m diameter VR cylinders (at each college campus) to offer a totally immersive experience
  • 1 x mobile 3 x 3m VR cube that can be transported to local businesses, schools and events

These exciting new VR facilities have been developed in partnership with employers and skills providers to address the future skills required by industry to tackle the low carbon agenda.

Who is it for?

With wraparound sound and vision, our VR facilities will offer an immersive experience – able to recreate realistic scenarios, training and education both on and off site.

Our College Students – VR will be at the centre of course development and embedded within every curriculum area. Thus, ensuring that digital skills are at the forefront of all educational programmes and that the college is addressing the needs of industry regarding ‘future skills’.

Local Business and Employers – will be able to book the VR hubs and mobile VR unit to deliver:

  • remote presentations
  • virtual design reviews
  • general communication with stakeholders, suppliers and customers
  • teaching, training and demonstrations
  • risk assessments / building walk-throughs
  • dangerous / high risk scenarios for training purposes.

Local Schools – will be able to use the VR hub and the mobile VR unit for curriculum delivery, virtual field trips and special events.

How can you use the VR facilities?

The cylinders and the cube are all equipped with Igloo Enterprise software. Each facility can display anything on the internet into the VR space so there’s a wealth of content available, or you can get stuck in creating your own content. For example:

Igloo Web

  • Allows you to access a whole library of existing 360° videos via YouTube
  • Your familiar web-based tools like Microsoft 365 can be accessed too – so you can work with the apps you already use, across a vast wraparound canvas

Igloo Capture

  • Show any kind of content on the cylinder or cube screens, and tile them with up to 12 channels of different content – so you can build dashboards quickly and easily from scratch
  • As well as 360° videos or images, you can show traditional formats or even files such as PDFs, and overlay them a wraparound background
  • And you can share screens from devices to the screen, so that anyone can quickly and easily collaborate within the space, whatever they’re working on

Igloo Realtime

  • As well as images and videos, work with game engine and visualisation content, built using apps such as Unity and Unreal
  • Content designed for virtual reality headsets can be shown inside the VR hubs too – and it can be shared with whole groups at once
  • A whole range of apps and software used in industry can be used inside the hubs, including visualisation tools for construction and engineering, simulation tools for training health and safety, and much more.
How can it benefit you?

Reduces your costs – VR avoids expensive real-life training scenarios and expensive trips to faraway locations

Enhances collaboration – VR means your entire teams / groups of students can interact with any scenario

Increases engagement – VR provides a [recreated] authentic experience

Improves safety – VR allows you to carry our activities / training without having to travel

Coming April 2022 …

College staff (at both the Accrington and Nelson campuses) will now be given access to expert advice, support and training to ensure these exciting VR facilities will make a huge difference to what students and employees can learn, do and explore.

Teaching and training will never be the same again … watch this space

Want to see a demonstration? WATCH HERE.



If you think you could benefit from and use VR for your business or education facilities, contact:

VR Facilities – at Accrington and Rossendale College will be available to book from mid-April 2022.

VR Facilities – at Nelson and Colne College will be available to book from Summer 2022.

Mobile VR Cube – will be available to book from mid-April 2022.  Note: assembly requires approx. 4 hours by a member of the college team.


* The funding for these initiatives has been provided from a government Skills Development Fund designed to support the move to greener technologies.


College Group makes major investment in EV technology

Nelson and Colne College Group is investing almost a quarter of a million pounds in new equipment to train motor vehicle technicians and engineers in the latest electric vehicle (EV) technologies. 

The new facilities at the Accrington and Rossendale College campus will cover the servicing and maintenance of EVs, battery fault diagnosis and repair, electric motor technologies, and the installation of charging equipment.

Once the equipment is in place (early 2022), students at Accrington and Rossendale College will get the opportunity to work on electric vehicles, from EV battery faults to the installation of charging facilities.

The funding for this initiative has been provided from a government Skills Development Fund designed to support the move to greener technologies. Led by Blackburn College, the project will create five electric and hybrid vehicle skills centres across Lancashire at Blackburn College, Nelson and Colne College Group, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Lancaster and Morecambe College and Myerscough College.

Dr Steve Wright, EV project leader, said:

“I’m delighted to see the College making such a significant investment in this field.

“The roll-out of electric vehicles is crucial to meeting our country’s climate obligations and it’s vital that the technicians working with these new vehicles and their charging systems, are up to date and ready for the challenges of the next era of motoring.

“We’ll be using the new equipment to make sure that all of our motor vehicle students have experience of working with EVs. 

“Some of the new resources are very specialist and beyond the reach of smaller businesses.  We’ll be making them available to local employers to upskill their staff if they wish to.”

The new facilities build on existing equipment already in operation at Accrington and Rossendale College and Nelson and Colne College.

Find information on Motor Vehicle Courses available at Accrington and Rossendale College here.


Accrington and Rossendale College investment in Electric Vehicle (EV) technology
Vehicle Maintenance and Repair L2 students with Motor Engineering Lecturer at Accrington and Rossendale College’s fantastic workshop facilities

Picture shows: Vehicle Maintenance and Repair L2 students Oliver Law and Byron Carney with Motor Engineering Lecturer Martin Brunker, at Accrington and Rossendale College’s fantastic workshop facilities.

New Chair and Vice Chair for Nelson and Colne College Group’s Board of Corporation steering the Colleges on to further success

Nelson and Colne College Group bids a fond farewell to current Chair of the Corporation Stephen Barnes as he retires from the College Group’s Board after more than 20 years of celebrated service, and welcomes a new Chair, Phil Wilkinson and new Vice Chair Emma Schofield.

The new appointments of Phil and Emma, who are already established members of the Board, further enhances the College Group’s governance bringing a wealth of experience, professional strength and skills from different industry sectors and will continue the strong strategic leadership that Stephen has shown over the years.

Emma Schofield is Deputy Director of Human Resources (HR) and Organisation Development at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and is currently the Safeguarding Lead on the Board of Corporation.

Phil Wilkinson, currently Vice Chair of the Corporation, begins as Chair in February, and is Chief Executive Officer of Ascentis.

Phil said “I am immensely proud to take on this position playing such an important role in the lives of all the learners and wider communities that we serve as the College Group. As, consistently, one of the highest achieving colleges in the country we are dedicated to enriching the education and experiences of all we work with, at all levels. Using the knowledge and experience gained from my established background in Further Education I can honestly say we haven’t been in a better position to positively influence the lives of so many across Lancashire, and particularly across East Lancashire.

“Stephen will be sorely missed, and has made a significant and lasting contribution to the College throughout his time on the Board. Through his College role he has made a hugely positive and lasting contribution to and impact on Pendle, which will continue long after he retires from the College Board. I look forward to becoming Chair in February and building upon all his good work supporting the Board to steer the College on to further success as we move forward.”

Stephen joined the Board of Nelson and Colne College when he was Chief Executive of Pendle Borough Council. As Corporation Chair, he has led the Board and College through key investment and growth opportunities such as the Lancashire Adult Learning and Accrington and Rossendale College mergers and the ambitious £3.5m Capital Investment Programme continuing to transform the Accrington and Rossendale College campus. An investment to support the College Group to continue to thrive that in turn could increase students attending by up to 15%.

Speaking of his retirement, Stephen said “I am immensely proud of all the phenomenal things the College Group has achieved for our learners, businesses and communities we serve, and for my part in that story. I know the unfaltering commitment and drive to support all students to achieve their very best will continue, with the Group’s senior team, teachers and support staff.”

Find out more about Governance at Nelson and Colne College Group.

January 2022