Using Virtual Reality to Attract 1,500 Apprentice Engineers

Moving with the times is vitally important in any forward-thinking industry, and if you stand still for too long you’ll not only miss out on new business opportunities but you’ll also miss out on some of the most talented potential employees, who are attracted to competitors by the advanced methods and technologies on offer.

That’s why the Openreach team have adopted a new Virtual Reality recruitment strategy that aims to attract around 1,500 trainee engineers to the company. Across 2017 the BT Openreach team will be using Virtual Reality to show potential engineers what a day in the in the field is really like.

The roles themselves are focused on expanding the team’s Openreach fibre broadband network and improving the brand’s customer service across the whole of Britain.

Having already hired 5,000 new engineers, along with 900 apprentices and graduates, over the last four years, the latest approach to recruitment is yet another step forward for the Openreach team and one that may inspire other businesses to provide that initial immersive experience to help with long-term recruitment.

In an era when many of today’s youngsters are enthralled by the latest technologies and are starting to adopt various forms of Virtual Reality into their daily lives, the move is an innovative one that looks to appeal to the next wave of engineers’ interests and passions.

You only have to look at the impact that Pokemon Go has had to see how Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can appeal to people; and the range of Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headsets available today that work with various different smartphones and apps are just a taste of what is to come in the field of VR.

Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset v2
Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset v2 – shop.bt.com

Virtual Reality headsets work by projecting a highly realistic image or video onto the inside of the lenses, fully immersing the wearer in a brand new environment. The hope with the Openreach recruitment initiative is that the 1,500 trainee vacancies will be filled by those who already love new technologies, including VR, and that the forward-thinking approach to attracting the engineers of the future will convince them that the job is for them, having already been able to experience what the day-to-day role would involve.

One prime example of where the VR “work experience” may be beneficial is in the job of climbing up a telephone pole to connect the wires and cables. While the engineering side of the role may appeal to the potential applicant, working at height may not and it’s an opportunity for them to assess whether or not the job is right for them at the initial stages.

Kevin Brady, the HR Director at Openreach, said “We know that climbing a pole for the first time can be daunting for new recruits, and that’s why we wanted to give people a real insight into what’s involved.

“We get people from all walks of life applying for roles and an increasing number of women wanting to be engineers, which is fantastic. Becoming an engineer can be a very rewarding career choice, and of course some aspects of the job are both mentally and physically challenging. Hopefully it will help them to make a more informed decision when they come to apply.”

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