Next-Generation Training Boosts Jobsite Confidence and Safety

By Greg Wolfe, Ditch Witch Director of Training

As the fiber build-out progresses and the HDD industry continues to grow, it is clear there is a shortage of experienced operators to help construct expanding networks. The question driving training technology now: How do contractors safely, quickly and cost-effectively help shape new HDD operators out of a pool that lacks knowledge and industry experience and is used to learning digitally?

The Ditch Witch answer: Virtual reality (VR) HDD simulator technology.

The new technology was developed to appeal to next-generation learners and help accelerate training among a booming industry—all in a safe and risk-free environment. The digital, hands-on training experience simulates and familiarizes new operators with machine controls and a variety of drilling environments and scenarios, such as urban areas, rural terrain and river crossings. This is as close as you can get to actual operation while reducing possible safety implications of putting untrained operators directly on a jobsite.

Taking advantage of today’s newest technologies, the VR simulator technology offers an innovative format to engage with the tech-savvy next generation of drill operators entering the market. This experience helps connect operators’ classroom knowledge with the opportunity to confidently operate a drill before stepping foot on the jobsite, improving safety and lowering total cost of ownership for contractors.

On-the-job training has been the primary method of training for decades. We still incorporate this component after the operator has completed our recommended 40 hours of training. Combined with our online Ditch Witch certified HDD training courses, VR will be an important component of the Ditch Witch training program in the future. Our organization continues to be dedicated to providing comprehensive HDD training, while leveraging the newest technology developments to engage, train and prepare the next generation of HDD operators.

For more information on Ditch Witch Certified Training, visit

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