Every eighth apprenticeship and numerous traineeship positions remain unfilled. The Federal Employment Agency recently announced that there were some 60,000 fewer places and 73,000 fewer applicants than before the pandemic. The current climate is also making it more complex for companies to reach potential trainees and introduce themselves to pupils. Face-to-face events are being cancelled while online fairs aren’t as successful as hoped. With all this in mind, the metal processing company—KERN-LIEBERS—launched a new project together with the Bechtle IT system house in Karlsruhe: Virtual Reality (VR) for addressing Applicants – Let’s Go!
While there weren’t any specific ideas to start with, the goal was clear—attract the attention of potential applicants, create added value and set KERN-LIEBERS as an employer apart from other companies. The concept was to be predominantly aimed at teenagers and young adults, but remain easy for staff to use and manage. How? With a 3D booth that is not only accessible through a browser link, but can be brought to life with a VR headset. A project group made up of students from the cooperative state university, trainees and the head of training initially used the self-service solution, rooom, to develop their 3D booth. The group was, however, faced with several challenges when it came to VR technology. What are the requirements of a VR project? How does implementation work? Which hardware and software is needed? It quickly became clear that they needed a partner to help. Being a customer for many years, KERN-LIEBERS turned to Bechtle. Counting a dedicated AR/VR specialist among its ranks, Bechtle Karlsruhe is a pioneer in innovative technologies just like these.
During a visit to the Digital Workplace Showroom at Bechtle Karlsruhe, KERN-LIEBERS’ project group were able to discover a wealth of information, speak with VR specialist Mara Ortner, and try out the various VR headsets and solutions for themselves. None of the group had had worked with VR before, so it was a completely new experience for the KERN-LIEBERS’ staff punctuated with a good deal of fun. Which is exactly what applicants visiting the new booth should have. It didn’t take long before the decision was made to purchase the HTC Vive all-in-one headsets, Focus 3.
Thank you for the exciting morning we had together. We are still amazed by the technical possibilities and can’t wait for what’s still to come! It is very important for us to have a competent and friendly contact, and with you, we can try out new things and learn so much that, in the end, we gained plenty of experience and knowledge in order to make an informed purchase decision.
Nico Schaber, supervising DH student, KERN-LIEBERS after visiting the Digital Workplace Showroom at the Karlsruhe IT system house.
The all important first step had been taken. Now it was time to try out. At the Starter Fair held in Rottweil at the end of October 2021, potential trainees were able to experience the virtual booth through the VR headsets. Not only did the receive information about the company, traineeships and studying at KERN-LIEBERS, the could also “touch” some products. This behind-the-scenes experience was also displayed for those not wearing the headset on a monitor, helping visitors get over their initial scepticism and have a go themselves. “It was important for us to be able to provide support, explaining what was being seen and providing background information. This is essential when it comes to using technology such as VR for the first time,” explains Nico Schaber, dual-study student and member of the KERN-LIEBERS project group.
The success proves that he was right. The project met all expectations, garnering attention and participation at the stand whilst also creating interest in a traineeship at KERN-LIEBERS in Schramberg. “VR enables us to present our company authentically and personally. At fairs like these, the younger generations are enthusiastic about this kind of opportunity,” explains Sarah Herrmann, a student at KERN-LIEBERS also involved in the project. The VR booth was such a success that it will be rolled out to online fairs, school visits and even for interviews.
There was one aspect above all others that KERN-LIEBERS got right. Not only can the technology be used to attract potential applicants, but its potential was also popular among the existing staff. And the numbers speak volumes with all open traineeships for the 2021/22 academic year were successfully filled.