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VR: A promising tool to help the unemployed find their dream jobs

VR: A promising tool to help the unemployed find their dream jobs

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
29.02.2024 15:30

In the Podkarpacie region, virtual reality is used to help the unemployed learn about new professions. This part of Poland has the highest youth unemployment rate in the country.

The Provincial Labour Office (Wojewódzki Urząd Pracy or WUP in Polish) in Rzeszów has launched a new pilot program called "I can see myself in this profession! Modern technologies in career counselling". This initiative aims to introduce students and unemployed individuals to various career paths and provide them with a better understanding of the realities of different professions by using Virtual Reality (VR) technology.

VR helps choose a career path in Podkarpacie

Tomasz Czop, the director of Rzeszów WUP, shared details about a project to modernise and improve the services offered by labour offices with portalsamorządowy.pl. The project involves the use of VR technology to make career counselling more engaging and attractive for users. The VR experience offers seven applications for occupations such as earth-moving and crane-transport equipment operator, car mechanic-diagnostician, electrician, and artistic blacksmith.

"We aim to motivate young people to take advantage of the support of career advisors, among other things, by actively engaging with them. By creating an artificial reality, advisors can immerse students into a virtual world of a particular profession," said Tomasz Czop. VR technology, through the use of special goggles, allows users to experience a digitally created reality.

Try different professions thanks to VR

The project has developed a range of apps that comprehensively introduce various professions. Additionally, it has created 45 films that showcase these professions in augmented reality. The films cover a wide range of specialisations, including paramedics, physiotherapists, nurses, carpenters, roofers, confectioners, police officers, Border Guard officers, engine drivers, and animal behaviourists. The project cost over PLN 1.1 million and was funded by the Polish Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy).

The project, which was trialled at the WUP in Rzeszów, is now being extended to most labour offices in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship and other areas in the country. Czop stated that the office proposed cooperation to make VR material available to public employment services throughout the country by the end of 2023. The software is currently being transferred to the first entities, and the majority of Podkarpackie employment offices are already using it.

High youth unemployment in Podkarpackie voivodeship

The Podkarpacie region currently has Poland's highest unemployment rate, standing at 8.6% in December 2023. This is significantly higher than the national average of 5.1%. Approximately 65,000 individuals in the Podkarpackie voivodeship are currently unemployed, a decrease of 2.1 thousand since 2022. Youth unemployment is exceptionally high in this region, and a significant proportion of those unemployed have been affected by long-term unemployment. This means they have been registered as unemployed or underemployed for over 12 months in the last two years.

The unemployment rate in the region is influenced by various factors, as described by sociologist Dr Hubert Kotarski from the University of Rzeszów for wyborcza.pl. According to Dr Kotarski, the demographic factor is crucial. He explains that since the beginning of the 21st century, the region has had a large population of young people, with over 50% of the total population aged 0-34. This means that there are many young people among the unemployed in Podkarpacie.

Dr Kotarski also notes that the region has some peculiarities. It is the least urbanised region, and it is divided into two parts - a north-western part that is better industrialised and urbanised and a south-eastern part that is less urbanised and more agricultural. Some people in the region work in the so-called grey economy, some do seasonal jobs, and some do not actively seek employment and instead rely on social assistance.

Source: portalsamorządowy.pl, wyborcza.pl

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