Royal Mail

Sponge used Virtual Reality (VR) to place Royal Mail employees in a realistic environment where they could safely experience the challenges of delivering mail under the threat of dog attacks.

In 2017-18, there were 2,275 dog attacks on Royal Mail postal workers, an average of 44 a week – some leading to permanent and disabling injuries. Royal Mail wanted a new and innovative way to highlight the risks and raise awareness of the guidance aimed at keeping postal workers safe from dog attacks.

Why choose VR to bring dog safety to life?

Royal Mail is the UK’s pre-eminent delivery company, directly employing 141,000 people and delivering more parcels in the UK than all its competitors combined. Its postmen and women deliver letters and parcels to over 30 million addresses across the UK, six days a week.

As an integral part of Royal Mail elearning, Sponge designed a VR training solution that would face up to some key challenges:

  • Connecting with postal workers by bringing real stories to life
  • Creating realistic, experiential scenarios while keeping everyone safe
  • Delivering the learning across multiple locations
  • Utilising the latest technologies in a cost-effective way

Hear postal worker Shaun Quirk's account of what it's like to fall victim to a dog attack and the impact VR training has had on his life:


How did VR bring dog safety to life for Royal Mail?

Sponge and Royal Mail worked in a highly collaborative way to identify scenarios based on situations postal workers face every day. Some scenarios are harmless; others are potentially dangerous.

The scenarios were filmed on location using a 360° camera and turned into an interactive immersive learning experience. The solution puts the user at the heart of the action in the role of an experienced postal worker who is supporting a new colleague on her first delivery round. They must correctly identify dog-related hazards and make decisions about how to keep themselves and their colleague safe.

Royal Mail’s dog safety guidance is included in the learning, so by the end of the Royal Mail elearning experience, the user is equipped with the knowledge they need to reduce the risk of dog attacks.

The immersive learning can be experienced via a Virtual Reality (VR) headset or on a PC or laptop as an interactive 360° video without the need for a VR headset. After being piloted in specific locations in 2018, the solution was rolled out across the rest of the UK.

VR is a powerful solution for learning that is experiential in nature and brings the topic to life. It suits the challenge of dog safety perfectly because the user must make choices in a realistic environment.



Global Director of Safety, Health Wellbeing & Environment, Royal Mail

Dr Shaun Davis

"This investment in new training for the frontline combines new technology and some of our traditional guidance to deliver the learning experience in a completely different way."


The interactive VR training for Royal Mail saw positive results:

  • Enabling postal workers to learn through experience without the risk
  • Flexible and cost-effective delivery to reach the whole workforce
  • Adding value to the company-wide conversation on dog safety

Online Learning Manager, Royal Mail

James Barton

"The real value that Sponge added for us was finding a new way of developing interactive 360° VR scenarios by treating it much more like a conventional film shoot that enabled us to get a quicker result, a cheaper result, and ultimately to bring the technology into our front line of Royal Mail in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible."



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