Telecommunications company Openreach is offering potential trainees the chance to immerse themselves in an engineer’s job before applying, thanks to virtual reality technology.
The company hopes that the VR push will help to drive interest from potential female engineers, diversifying the workforce.
Kevin Brady, human resources director for Openreach, said: “We get people from all walks of life applying for roles at Openreach and an increasing number of women wanting to be engineers, which is fantastic.”
Openreach recently joined a scheme called ‘Step into STEM’ designed to encourage girls leaving education to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), careers that are currently male dominated.
By exploring the use of VR for recruitment, candidates can make a more informed decision about whether the role is right for them.
Interested applicants can get a better feel for everyday tasks such as climbing a telephone pole and viewing an exchange building, all from the perspective of a real engineer.
The other drive of this latest recruitment surge is to improve customer service, and they are investing in people to make sure they deliver.
Clive Selley, Openreach chief executive, said: “Our customers need us to install new lines and repair our network faster than ever, and by increasing the number of people working on proactive network maintenance, we can fix more issues before people even notice them.”
The company is making big investments in its network to make ultrafast broadband available to up to 12 million homes by the end of 2020.
After separating from BT recently, the company has ambitious plans to recruit 1,500 trainees over the next eight months. Expanding its engineering workforce will begin in April with an initial intake of 119 new employees expected.
Will this be the future of successful recruitment? Many companies already offer virtual retail for training purposes, yet virtual reality in the interview process on a large scale is still in the early stages.