Career Development Association of New Zealand


Te Mōhiotanga

A new reality; Experiencing careers through VR


Date: 28 Nov 2019

Category: Article reviews

Tags: joy business, virtual reality, gamification, technology

A new reality; Experiencing careers through VR

Through the ever-changing landscape of technology we are creating opportunities that were never thought possible before. Virtual Reality (VR) is quickly moving beyond gaming applications and into the careers and education space. The opportunities are only limited to our imagination. Immersive Virtual Reality can be used to:

  • help prepare people for the job market
  • teach skills
  • test and certify competency
  • expose individuals to many different environments as a career exploration tool

Being immersed in the virtual world is an amazing experience. For anyone putting on the headset and using the controls for the first time, having your natural movements being mimicked in the virtual world coupled with well-crafted experiences creates a sense of wonder. There is real feeling of being transported to another place or another time. The release of untethered headsets enables an anywhere, anytime experience. The lowering cost of these headsets means it is the perfect time to ask ‘what could be’ for VR as a career development tool?

Job preparation – through VR people can learn employability skills and experience what a job might be like in the field. This is especially helpful in high risk industries like construction, Police, Fire, and tourism. These industries need a workforce that can make pivotal decisions at the right time for the best interest of self and others. The immersive VR experience can train the brain to recognise situations where good decisions, while mitigating real world health and safety concerns

Accreditation and Certification – There has been a lot of discussion around creating VR scenarios to meet standard requirements for accreditation and certification, and what this could look like. Not only can it reduce time to accredit individuals with skills or knowledge, but through the immersive experience it makes assessment feel less like assessment in the traditional sense. Imagine having the learning and assessment combined into one in a quick VR experience that validates the knowledge participants have attained through their knowledge and skills displayed in VR. We could have compliance aspects of individuals’ jobs quickly attained and assessed in areas such as food safety, hazard identification or working at heights. Since VR headsets are now untethered, they can be taken on site, employees can be assessed and certification gained effectively and efficiently.

Career Exploration – Many of us have wondered what a specific job or workplace is really like. VR can show you through simulated workplaces. Individuals can be introduced and inducted into new roles by being offered a virtual tour of the role. Imagine being able to explore a range of different work experiences by following a digital human expert in a 360-degree tour - see where they work, what they do on an average day, or be shown the growth opportunities that exist in that company or industry. This makes for more informed decisions and will increase job retention rates as the expectations are known from the outset. VR takes away barriers to experiential education and can deepen the involvement an individual can have without risk to themselves, others or equipment. 

With the lowering cost of VR technology, I predict there will come a time where being immersed in the virtual world will be a staple tool used in the careers industry. VR projects, with applications ranging from entertainment to education, healthcare, and travel are already being explored and used in the job market. Harnessing technology to improve performance is where VR can really move into its own. Employers will be able to quickly up-skill and train employees through virtual experience offering good return on their investment into the technology. It connects career development, industry and exploration like never before, creating opportunities for job seekers and students. It will also enable people to make informed decisions around their education, certification and career pathways.