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Training & Education Digital Transformation Agencies

Havas and SCA develop creative apprentice scheme taught via VR headsets


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

January 26, 2024 | 5 min read

Agency and ad school team up for paid training scheme that uses Meta Quest virtual reality headsets to teach.

Man wearing VR headset

Creative apprentices taught by VR headsets / Pexels

The School of Communications Arts, Havas and the training body Technical Education are to launch a two-year creative apprenticeship scheme.

Funded by the UK government’s apprenticeship levy, which banks 0.05% of a business’s revenue to put towards paying apprentices, the Creative Mastery scheme will welcome its first cohort in February 2024.

The scheme is available to any agency, brand or media owner, regardless of whether they have contributed to the levy. The Department of Education will help to offer a 95% discount for smaller companies that don’t pay the levy. Without funding, the Creative Mastery course has been banded at £17,000.

The SCA is a London-based school that requires in-person attendance at its base at The Drum Labs in Shoreditch. In a bid to recruit apprentices from outside of the capital, the course will be taught in virtual classrooms using Meta-sold Quest VR headsets. Each apprentice will receive a headset paid for out of the levy allowance.

The SCA’s dean, Marc Lewis, dispelled any skepticism about using virtual reality to teach at an industry preview of the course. According to Lewis, the headsets help with engagement by removing distractions such as playing on a phone or checking emails. The platform that powers the Quest device, Engage, has built classrooms for Stamford University and has Oxford University as a client.

According to Meta data, virtual reality learning improves productivity by 66% compared with other forms of online learning such as Zoom or Teams, improves efficiency by 76% and improves collaboration by 58%.

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In the first year, students will be taught how to find commercial opportunities and will be tasked to answer 16 live briefs, with the employer given the opportunity to sign off. In the second year, students will pick a specific area of advertising they wish to pursue.

“School of Communication Arts exists to help future-proof the UK’s creative economy by providing the highest quality of education to the most diverse cohorts,” said Lewis.

Interestingly, the course isn’t aimed at school leavers like the majority of UK apprenticeships. Instead, the Creative Mastery course is targeted at 25-to-35-year-olds and above – people with some industry experience who want to progress their careers.

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