A virtual reality headset will give an immersive experience to the work of a network engineer
Openreach is turning to virtual reality technology as it seeks to recruit 1,500 trainee engineers to improve the UK’s telephone and broadband network.
The company, which telecoms regulator Ofcom ordered must be split from parent BT, plans to take on the staff over the next eight months.
To give them an insight into what the work of a field engineer involves, Openreach is using a virtual reality headset which will be available at recruitment roadshows.
Potential staff put on the headsets and are immersed in a virtual world where they can experience climbing a telegraph pole and exploring an exchange building from the perspective of an engineer, getting 360-degree views.
Videos offering a similar experience will be available to download on the company's website and on YouTube.
“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 Kevin Brady, HR director for Openreach.
“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.”
As well as installing new lines and repairing the network, Openreach is rolling out superfast broadband across the UK with a target of making it available to 12m homes by the end of 2020.
This is has forced it to aggressively recruit and the business has hired 5,000 engineers and more than 900 apprentices and graduates over the past four years.
Earlier this month BT agreed a deal to separate Openreach from the rest of the company. A deal hammered out after two years of talks with Ofcom will see 32,000 staff transferred to a subsidiary with its own board and control of the network.