A futuristic recruitment VR experience

To encourage workers into the construction industry

The brief

The number of skilled construction workers in the UK has reached a record low in 2018. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and City College Plymouth are working with partners across the city to encourage more young people to enter the industry. Our role was to come up with something that would appeal to  14 to 19 year olds, who may not have considered construction as a career.

Lots of interest in our immersive experience and the future of its development #DCS2019 @cityplym @ConstructionMag

Our solution

The teenage target audience have been brought up on gaming and digital technology, and don’t always respond as well to traditional communications methods.

We designed a VR experience allowing young people to explore a construction site in Plymouth in 2069. Taking inspiration from games like EA’s Mirror Edge, we used colour accents to build scenes that are simple to process visually, without sacrificing detail and atmosphere. We simulate weather effects through audio and physics to make the environment feel natural – the tarpaulin flapping in the wind.

Once our user is familiar with the setting, we ask them to respond to certain scenarios, such as a fire or a hole in the structure. By using the gaming techniques they are familiar with and immersing them in a private, virtual world, we can both engage them and introduce them to new career options. We are also highlighting the building technologies of the future, such as bacterial welding and carbon neutral construction – these visualizations serve as conversation starters when the user takes the VR headset off.

The result

Across 11 events in just 7 months, over 500 potential students used the experience. 70% of users were between the target demographic of 16-24 years old, with significant increase in users under 15 years old at apprenticeship fairs – a setting in which the prospective students are likely to be deciding their future career or education options.

These promising results are from just the first deployment of the immersive experience in the South West. The portability and ease of usability means this experience can be deployed nationwide year on year.