How VR is helping prepare students for jobs

A further education college in Wales has introduced virtual reality (VR) soft skills training to prepare students for the workforce.

In the last five months, the confidence levels of 25 students at Coleg y Cmoedd using the Job Interview Simulation module increased from 17% to 83%, before and after the VR learning experience.  

Soft skills, which include interpersonal, communication, listening, time management and more, are increasingly important. They are among the top skills employers seek in the candidates they hire because of their importance for many jobs. 

A 2023 survey of 1,000 UK hiring managers found that almost two-thirds (62%) have previously hired someone who demonstrated superior soft skills over a better-qualified candidate.  

Working with VR soft skills training provider Bodyswaps and VR line HTC VIVE, Coleg y Cymoedd has successfully helped their students to develop soft skills. 

Using VIVE Focus 3 headsets (standalone VR sets), students have accessed 23 VR modules simulating real-life scenarios that are otherwise difficult to replicate.

Rhys Williams, lecturer at the School of Public Services & Sports at Coleg y Cmoedd, said: “What I like about Bodyswaps is the fact it picks up your body movement, your eye contact. It’s hard to address that as a lecturer myself.”

Rhys said that the engagement has been ‘massive’ and that students have downloaded the software onto their own devices to practice their soft skills, which he said are transferrable across every sector and department at the college.

From managing interview anxiety to job interviews and public speaking, it can help students gain valuable feedback on elements of their performance in real-time, providing feedback on wording, posture and even body language. 

This programme has enabled students to develop skills in a life-like virtual setting and highlight how they can improve otherwise easy-to-miss habits. Student feedback has been highly positive, demonstrating the real impact VR can have as a native learning tool.

One student at the college said: “It helped me with my public speaking since I’ve always struggled with my anxiety and talking to the public.

“The module was brilliant.”

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