Invirt Reality formed in 2008. The business was founded by Chris Jones and Mark Lewis, who had known each other for years, working on the software contractor circuit.
After working for defence companies as contractors, Chris and Mark decided they could do this for themselves. They saw an opportunity in Virtual Reality (VR) to set up a business for training applications.
For many regulated sectors, such as aerospace, rail and armed forces, training staff in VR is both cost effective and compelling. Invirt Reality is helping organisations to create a ‘real life’ training solution at a fraction of the cost.
Starting from scratch and having grown organically, Invirt Reality now employ nine people. In 2014, wanting to take the business to the next level, founders Chris and Mark embarked on researching universities who could offer graduates who had the specialist skills in gaps they wanted to fill: specialist engineers, games developers and 3D modellers. This was a game-changer, and really helped establish them as experts in their field, as well as bring the best dimension to the VR experience.
Working with Santander and our partner university The University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, Invirt Reality were able to identify opportunities to take three graduate interns through our Santander Internship Scheme.
Being able to have supported funding was so useful. It means as an SME, you can reduce your risk a bit – and it all helps!
Invirt were looking for graduates who were not only technically skilled, but had the ability to communicate well and, most importantly, communicate Invirt’s benefits to customers and prospects.
It was really important to have graduates who know how to communicate well and could be as passionate about what we do as we are.
The graduates were all taken on for 10 weeks and were able to start immediately on the animation and modelling, as well as the games engine. Hitting the ground running, they were placed onto live projects and the client they were working with has now become one of Invirt’s biggest customers.
We see the internships as an extended interview, a chance for us to really see the qualities the graduates provide and how they can fit into our business.
Chris and Mark knew quite early on that due to the calibre of the interns, they would be offering them all full time jobs at the end of the placement. A number of years on, one of these interns is still working for the business and remains a key member of the team, working with Invirt’s biggest clients.
The future is positive for Invirt. Some great partnerships have been formed with organisations such as Samsung, and with many companies in a bigger range of sectors now seeing the benefits of training in the virtual world, the next 18 months will help to make virtual much more of a reality for Invirt.
To read about the experience of one of Invirt Reality's interns who took part in our paid SME internship programme, visit Santander Talent.