Many young people in today’s labor market are out of work, and youth unemployment is a serious problem in many countries. Can virtual reality (VR) help to mitigate this problem? The technology potentially has wider possibilities to engage and be accepted by the youth.
The Virtual Internship project is developing a concept of “Immersive Job Taste”, an interactive VR experience of a workplace that aims to give a feeling of going through an average workday of a professional with elements of basic training. Instead of simply presenting information about jobs and professions, this is directly conveyed by getting the inside experience of being a trainee at a workplace. It is important to note that Immersive Job Taste is different from workplace training as it only provides a ‘peek’ into a certain profession without necessarily covering all the details and specifics.
The main target audiences of the project are young job seekers who can be aided in selecting a career path at school or a welfare center, choosing the first or a new occupation, often after a period of being unemployed.
The catalogue of the Immersive Job Taste apps includes VR experiences of a wind turbine electrician, car mechanic, road construction worker, fishery worker, and tinsmith. Each VR app includes such components as a presentation of a workplace, several typical tasks, feedback on performance, gamification, and advice on applying for jobs in the specific industry.
The project is implemented by a partnership between the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. The scenarios and the typical workplace tasks for each profession are being developed in collaboration with local industry and professional societies. The virtual internship apps and room-scale VR equipment have been installed and used in a test mode at selected career centers in Norway since 2019.
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