St.James’s Place rolls out VR training

Wealth management company St James’s Place (SPJ) has become what it describes as the first financial services provider to roll out Virtual Reality (VR) tech for training across the business.

The move is one of a number of planned launches from the wealth management firm’s Learning & Development Team using VR and Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

The company’s aim is to develop and deliver a full programme based on these new technologies to accelerate learning throughout the business and improve overall performance.

SJP has already begun to use the headsets for virtual presentations and workshops as well as social events, allowing users to meet and get to know each other in a virtual setting.

VR role-playing was first rolled out through the SJP Academy in September 2021, alongside in-person teaching, providing a blend of face-to-face and remote-based learning that was successfully adopted during the Covid pandemic.

“The intention is to give people a safe space to practice in, so that they can gain confidence without the need for access to trainers, coaches or peers,” said Di Macdonald divisional director of learning & development at St. James’s Place. “It also enables us to utilise resources more effectively and train more people in a shorter space of time. We are able to enhance existing soft skills training and capture areas that may need more practice than others.”

Macdonald added: “This technology is improving rapidly, and is becoming more affordable, better quality and easier to use. Our continuing research and development programme is working to ensure that we can further enhance what is on offer.”

The tech is currently being used by Academy delegates, allowing them to practice client meetings, fact finding and building rapport with clients with a greater degree of realism.

Trainees are provided with headsets that allow them to experience the role of an adviser and engage in conversations with virtual clients through a series of multiple-choice questions. They can then watch the encounter back to increase their understanding from a client’s point of view and also receive feedback by hearing their clients’ thoughts played out.

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