Youngsters facing increasing pressures over their futures – in the light of uncertainties in the job market – are being given a helping hand by the same innovative technology many of them use to play computer games.
Midlands-based innovation company Dev Clever has developed the world’ first virtual reality careers’ experience – a Virtual Interactive Careers Training and Apprenticeship robot – called “VICTAR” for short.
It is hoped the aid will guide youngsters unsure about their career options and go some way to addressing the critical issue nationally of the UK Skills Gap which the Government estimates will cost the UK tax payer £90 billion per year by 2024.
The Government is now incentivising educators, training and apprentice providers and employers to work in collaboration to promote and support the skills development for careers in their regions which are predicted to grow despite challenges to industries such as automation.
The VICTAR experience starts by the youngster wearing a Virtual Reality headset with VICTAR then taking the user through an interactive personality test to determine their individual strengths.
These are then linked to the user’s interests for VICTAR to intelligently match careers that the user will both excel at and enjoy.
VICTAR then shows videos of people working in that career and the different pathways they can choose to get there such as further education (FE) and apprenticeship.
VICTAR is also linked to live government sourced Labor Market Information (LMI) which shows the young person the predicted growth of their selected career, what they can expect to earn once they are qualified and college courses, apprenticeship vacancies and employers in their area to help them begin their journey.
VICTAR, which will be available to secondary schools in the UK and Careers Guidance Officers, is designed specifically to support the government mandate of schools delivering careers information.
An online forerunner of VICTAR, FastForward, has been in live testing for over 18 months with one of the company’s partners Solihull College and University Centre, receiving a National FE First Gold award, for incorporating the use of an interactive, virtual reality careers’ engine.
Chris Jeffries, CEO of Dev Clever, said: “This is an exciting step change in the way careers’ information is delivered to school children as part of a more engaging and stable careers’ programme.
“It is providing young people with the opportunity to make an informed decision about their future and should dramatically reduce the risk of making the wrong choice, which leads to mis-education and additional cost to the UK tax payer.
“At the same time, it provides school children with a centralised platform to view educators, training providers and employers that offer the next stage towards their career,” he added.