22 March 2017

Openreach turns to virtual reality to recruit 1,500 trainee engineers

Openreach with VR Goggles

In a ground-breaking approach to recruitment, Openreach is to harness the power of virtual reality (VR) as it seeks to boost its engineering workforce.

Over the next eight months, the business will be seeking recruits from across the country to fill 1,500 roles. The roles are focussed on extending the Openreach fibre broadband network, improving customer service and keeping Britain connected.

Potential candidates will be able to discover exactly what life as a field engineer involves, with the help of VR. The company is trialling a VR experience which gives interested applicants a chance to don a headset and experience climbing a telephone pole or exploring the local exchange building in immersive 3D, from the perspective of a real engineer.

Seeing it for themselves

Kevin Brady, HR director for Openreach, explained: “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.”

Said Brady: “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. Becoming an engineer can be a very rewarding career choice, and of course some aspects of the job are both mentally and physically challenging.”

Immersive experience

He added: “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.”

The 360 degree videos are available to watch on YouTube and can be viewed on any PC, tablet or VR headset.

Videos include an engineer’s eye view from the top of a telephone pole, a virtual tour of a telephone exchange and a look inside a green roadside cabinet.

Openreach has hired 5,000 engineers and more than 900 apprentices and graduates over the last four years.