Ready, set, work: WorkPrep VR Program

Eric Milos is the Virtual Reality Marketer with the Regina Work Prep Centre.

For 50 years now the Regina Work Preparation Centre has been assisting people in selecting the right career, helping them to find and get ready to work, and connecting them to organizations with resources for a variety of careers across the province.

The non-profit, charitable, community-based organization has recently been acting as a hub for virtual reality (VR) training and upskilling in the province and has led the way with some exciting programs to help workers realize career goals.

For the last two years, Milos’ primary role has been to use virtual tools to help people who are looking for a career change and need digital upskilling. This support can range from resume review and job interview preparation to full simulations in a variety of environments ranging from short line cooking to heavy machinery operation.

The people supported by the programs include anyone needing support with a job transition. Whether they’ve fallen on hard times, are being forced to make a change after a long time in the same field where options have dried up or are unsure of the career they want to pursue and would simply like some direction the Prep Centre has options for them to explore and learn and advance their career.

“So currently there are about 20 different organizations across Saskatchewan that are using and have the program. It was funded and rolled out by Immigration and Careers Training. And so Work Prep is sort of spearheading that whole initiative. We were responsible for the rollout of the VR program. We were responsible for the training, we continue with training and tech support for any of the staff at other organizations that are using it,” explains Milos. Work Prep has become a point of contact for the Correctional Centres and has begun working with the University of Regina.

The platform being used is called Career Labs VR. This company is based out of Ontario and Work Prep has developed a lot of the processes that have since been picked up by Career Labs passed on to their subscribers across North America. That platform currently consists of over 20 unique simulations designed to replicate what it’s like to work in a particular field.

Regina Work Prep has also been the project lead on the development of six new simulations.

A few of these focus on the hospitality industry, as well as a medical technologist, line cook, continuing care aid, and commercial trucking. These simulations are under development in partnership with Melcher Studios in Regina.

There are over 130 trades operating in the province, but people tend to think of plumbing, heating, and electrician when they think about the trades as a career. The Work Prep Centre helps bring more opportunities to the attention of potential workers.

Milos says, “if you’ve never picked up a tool in your life you can still go through any of these simulations from start to finish and it’s a simplified but really accurate portrayal in most cases of what it is actually like to do that job.”

This can be a great look at how people handle different situations, work through problems, and handle themselves on job sites–without any danger of injury or damage to expensive tools, property or machinery.