A BUSINESS which has developed a new online training tool was rewarded for its confidence in working with universities by winning the Best Business & Higher Education Link award.

5th Wall offers an innovative web solution, pushing technological boundaries, to create an interactive e-learning experience which brings real life situations into the training environment to play a role in the up-skilling of individuals.

Founder Patrick Holtby came up with the idea for a new training solution, but it wasn’t until autumn 2013 when he met York St John University’s business support team at York Business Week that he recognised his product was achievable.

Encouraged by what he had found at York Business Week, Mr Holtby applied to the Yorkshire Innovation Fund (YIF) for investment in his plan to redefine online learning.

With YIF support he collaborated with Mike O’Dea of York St John University, and subsequently, with Dr Darren Mundy’s Digital Media Team at the University of Hull, to develop an online tool that would allow 5th Wall to recreate their dynamic training room experience online.

5th Wall has also partnered with the Student Internship Bureau at the University of York, creating two twelve-week internships to help bring this product to market.

The judges said the impressive feature of 5th Wall’s entry was the willingness of the business to take a calculated, but nonetheless relatively significant, risk on a new technological based approach to a traditional business.

They said: "To help manage this risk the business has used links with higher education institutions to access thinking on the leading edge of the technology and build on it using fresh student enthusiasm."

The judges said all of this takes tremendous confidence in the value of the links which would appear to be working for 5th Wall.

Mr Holtby said: "These crucial higher education links have enabled 5th Wall to break the limited, binary approach to learning and development, and provide a fresh means to online training.

"The ability to deliver training remotely has led us to explore the international market, particularly the increased online activity has generated interest from American companies.

"With the development of 5th Wall online, the launch of a new website, and the appointment of new employees, 2015 has been an exciting year for 5th Wall."