GREENVILLE – Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a new training center that will aid in onboarding new manufacturing employees in a virtual reality environment. The facility will mimic real-world operating environments and equipment through virtual reality and augmented reality capabilities as a way to train new employees on the sterile injectibles drug production lines.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of real-life environments, while augmented reality layers computer-generated imagery over existing reality, integrating digital components with the real world.

Thermo Fisher

As a leader in industry training, Thermo Fisher is dedicated to developing state-of-the-art training initiatives to improve the quality of learning for workers. Instead of taking a year to onboard and train new employees to work on a manufacturing line, the new training center will expedite that process and allow workers to gain intimate knowledge of aseptic manufacturing in approximately four months. Training in the virtual reality environment gives trainees the ability to visualize a number of functions on the operating line and virtually move through the steps needed to perform their job.

The new Greenville Training Center will have the capacity to train 20 people at a time across five virtual reality training rooms. Training time is expected to be reduced by 50% with the potential for significant cost savings and reduction in turnover.

Virtual reality-based training on the rise

Many industries are turning to virtual reality-based training (VRBT), including manufacturing, the military, health care, automotive, space and law enforcement. The VRBT format is shown to help improve the quality and speed of learning through the use of contextual clues and immersive experiences. Some studies report that the realistic, hands-on characteristics of VRBT help humans retain information longer than traditional training.

Thermo gives back and grows in Greenville

To round out the dedication of the new training center, Thermo Fisher presented a check for $5,000 and 1,200 backpacks filled with science materials to the Pitt County Education Foundation. Pitt County middle school students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics will receive a backpack as part of Thermo Fisher’s “STEMcredibles” Education Program.

Thermo Fisher has also recently partnered with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Pharmaceutical Services Network at Pitt Community College, and Pitt County high schools on the Pharma K12 Workforce Development Training Initiative. It’s an industry-led program developed to fill jobs at local pharmaceutical companies by opening career pathways for high school students and educating them on job opportunties in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.Thermo Fisher’s Greenville site includes a 1.5-million-square-foot pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and packaging campus, providing solid dose and sterile dose manufacturing, filling and lyophilization of both biopharmaceuticals and small molecules. The new Training Center is a part of the company’s 2019 $55 million investment in Greenville to grow its capabilities, capacity and talent. The expansion will elevate Thermo Fisher’s ability to meet the needs of its worldwide customer base and strengthen the caliber of current and future talent. Currently, the Greenville employees 1,500 people and the company looking to fill 100 open positions.