In a room full of people, Jaxson Anderson-Smith stands alone and tries his hand at the role of a security guard.
There are a few others standing next to him – one cutting kiwis, another driving a forklift.
The one thing they all have in common? They all wear a virtual reality headset that trains them for potential employment.
“I actually had a bit of fun with it, I had never done VR before [virtual reality] before that it was pretty exciting,” Anderson-Smith said.
“You have to see some of the things that they would encounter in their work and the things that they wear, the things that they use.”
Anderson-Smith said he has a part-time job but was looking for extra work so he went to the Hamilton Gardens employment fair, which is being put on by the Department for Social Development.
Though he realized a security guard wasn’t right for him, he said he was glad to know now rather than wasting an employer’s time.
“The VR definitely puts you right in, and you can actually see a bit of what the job itself is like. Even though it’s just a simulation, it gives you an idea of what to expect.”
MSD Industry Partnership Account Manager Nicola Anderson said finding a job can be difficult and daunting, but the show could help match employers with potential employees.
“She [expo attendees using VR] They can experience things at their own pace, think about the things they see, and when they make mistakes, there’s no one around to watch,” Anderson said.
“It’s a really cool way to get people to think about what they might or might not want to do because that’s a big part of the job hunt. And that way they can dress themselves the right way.”
The Skills VR modules used at the show include training for the SiteSafe Foundation’s Civil and Construction Industry Passport.
You can reduce four days of training to 30 minute sessions and help people with reading and writing difficulties.
Skills VR Marketing Manager Devon Toi said learning outcomes increased from 30 to 90 percent.
“It eliminates all distractions, you focus on the task at hand, and essentially we’re trying our best to captivate the ‘learn as you do’ mechanism. We make our modules about 15 to 20 minutes long, so it’s not overload.”
MSD employment coordinator Alice Tanner said the employment fair was first tested in May and resulted in one employer hiring more than 15 people from the event.
“A lot of the employers we work with are really, really desperate for staff. Some people may have never thought about working in this industry, it’s a little adjustment for them,” Tanner said.
“We’re just trying to keep up with things like that, and it’s a good opportunity for people to broaden their horizons.”
The job fair today drew more than 300 job seekers to Waikato — a region with about 14,500 unemployment benefit recipients.
Further trade fair events are planned for each region of the country.