BT Openreach, the company that maintains telephone lines and the broadband network in the UK, is turning to virtual reality (VR) technology in order to recruit and train new field engineers.
Openreach is in the process of upgrading the UK’s broadband network to super-fast optical fibre, aiming to have it rolled out to 12 million homes by 2020. As a result of this, along with the standard work of installing new lines and making repairs, the company have been forced to rapidly expand their pool of engineers, recruiting 5,000 engineers along with 900 apprentices and graduates over the last four years.
To aid in recruitment, Openreach have been taking a VR headset to their recruitment roadshows, offering potential staff the chance to find out what it is like to climb a telegraph poll and look around a telephone exchange building as an engineer would see it. The videos are all specially filmed in 360-degrees, and Openreach say that similar videos will be available on the company’s website and YouTube channel shortly.
Kevin Brady, HR director for Openreach had this to say: “Everyone wonders what it might be like to work for a company when they apply for a job, but we’re giving people the ability to physically see it and experience it for themselves. We know, for example, 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. Hopefully it will help them to make a more informed decision when they come to apply.”
BT Openreach join a range of companies that are trying out VR technology to aid in training and teaching. Dassault Aviation have been using VR to train new mechanics on their aircraft, Realize Mobile have produced a VR training tool for dentists, and Microsoft’s HoloLens has even begun to see use in classrooms.
VRFocus will continue to bring you news of VR use in education and training