by George Nott

Fancy being a chef, engineer or hairdresser? Try it in VR first

Feb 20, 2019
Business IntelligenceCareersCloud Computing

Young jobseekers are being given the opportunity to try their hand at a number of careers thanks to series of virtual reality experiences launched last week by BUSY At Work.

The Gold Coast not-for-profit – which provides apprenticeship, employment and community programs – has made the VApprentice VR apps available at all 47 of its offices and schools across Queensland and Western Australia.

In the first of the ten experiences users play the role of an apprentice chef and carry out duties like – chopping vegetables, washing dishes, serving food, and frying and battering fish and chips.

The tasks and recipes to follow get more complex as users move through the levels, culminating in graduation.

Hundreds of young people have already tried out the chef experience, which will also tour career fairs in coming months.

Nine further experiences – all built by BUSY At Work’s in-house team of developers –are slated for release by July: auto mechanic, hairdresser, childcare worker, aged care worker, construction worker, landscaper, bar hand, engineer and electrician.

“Now future apprentices don’t have to just hear about jobs or read about them before making their choice, they can play them first,” said BUSY At Work managing director Paul Miles.

“A key challenge is finding ways to boost completion rates for apprentices, and VApprentice delivers a fun approach to this. It’s an exciting innovation that will help young people make better career choices while also building their skill sets for different professions,” he added.

The VApprentice ‘Chef Experience’ app

Virtual reality is fast emerging as a tool for potential job candidates to experience a ‘day in the life’ of different careers.

Late last year, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Norwegian government and industry players backed an app – FisheryVR – which serves up tasks to users around fish farming and processing. The VR tasks are accompanied by a 360-degree video filmed at real workplaces.

Other experiences have been developed for healthcare and office settings.

VR has also been used to great effect as a training tool for the likes of Dementia Australia and KFC.

Although not true VR, immersive 360-degree video experiences are also offered by Victoria-based non profit training organisation Workforce Plus which put users in scenarios of working with disabled people.