The disruptive effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have impacted almost all sectors of our society. tertiary education is no exception. A study by Aucejo et al (2020) about 1500 students reported that the outbreak had large negative effects on students’ current labour market participation and expectations about post-college labour outcomes. Around 40% of students lost a job, internship, or a job offer, and 61% reported to have a family member that experienced a reduction in income. The pandemic also had a substantial impact on students’ expectations about their labour market prospects post-college/university. For example, their perceived probability of finding a job before graduation decreased by almost 20%. They are now competing not only with other graduates but also many experience workers who lost their jobs recently. In the UK 700,000 experienced workforce lost their jobs due to the pandemic (ONS, September 2020). The situation in other EU member states is not dissimilar. All these issues have increased stress and anxiety leading to mental health among the young generation which has less experience of coping with stress. Emergency measures are required to put in place to help them realise their strengths, develop missing skills and boost their confidence which will ultimately help in avoiding mental health related issues by combining the VR technology and John Holland’s personality criteria known as RAISEC – according to which people and work environments can be classified according to six basic types: Doers (Realistic), Thinkers (Investigative), Creators (Artistic), Helpers (Social), Persuaders (Enterprising) or Organizers (Conventional). RAISEC provides the young people an opportunity to understand what areas they are inclined to succeed. The application of the RAISEC is combined with the development of key skills (Ziarati, 2020) which gives job applicants a greater chance of finding and keeping a job such as i) developing and managing self, ii) working as a member of a team, iii) communicating effectively, iv) maintaining physical and mental fitness, v) applying technology, vi) managing time, vii) defining and solving problems and viii) design skills. With an affordable, accessible and fun app those graduated during the Covid-19 pandemic (Generation C) is given a means to know their strengths, skills and abilities better and to hunt for their future occupations. The proposed project intends to take full advantage of VR both as a tool to identify interest and strength and to develop key life skills required by the labour market.
The VR industry is growing fast, with the market for virtual reality hardware and software projected to increase from 6.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to more than 16 billion U.S. dollars by 2022 (Source: Statista.com). With a set of well thought tests, the proposed app will allow users to take part in carefully organised quizzes that they will experience for themselves without getting bored or finding it dreadfully dull. Our proposed project aims to solve the problem of giving the youth the necessary skills and knowledge of what their skills and abilities are and in which occupation they can excel and have a bright future. By approaching the issue at the earliest stage, the aim is to prepare the young and to reduce stress and future dissatisfaction and provide a glance of the future opportunities. The users will know the missing skills and will be able to focus on the important aspects by themselves and therefore will be able to eliminate skills mismatching and develop key skills. Also, by knowing their strong points the Generation C will be able to develop themselves to higher levels in seeking and retaining good and well paid jobs.