R. Kauppinen, M. Drake

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
Virtual reality (VR) has been a trending technology in the recent years. It is already widely used, for example, in the fields of entertainment and design. The utilization of VR has also been explored from educational viewpoint in, for example simulation training in aviation and design and modelling in engineering while much of the current research focuses on the area of medicine.

From educational viewpoint, VR is also a promising tool for competence recognition, since it provides a way to create interactive virtual twins (virtual counterparts) of the real-life environments, objects and people as well as of the person whose competences are to be recognized. This way, it is possible to show and recognize the competencies such as the vocational ones needed in the working life by doing tasks where the competencies in question are actually used. The VR environment with the necessary digital twins can also provide guidance as needed. In addition, the environment can be designed as language independent relying non-linguistic methods, for example visuals instead of text, which helps to show and recognize competencies in situations where language barrier exists.

In this paper, we explore the possibilities in using VR in competence recognition for immigrants. The background for this is that immigrants will play a significant role in maintaining an adequate level of Finland’s working-age population, since four out of five foreigners living in Finland are of working age. However, the employment rate of working-age immigrants is considerably lower than that of the general population and one of the biggest obstacles to employing immigrants is a lack of language skills. We present a way for developing a competence recognition model using VR to employ immigrants in a particular field. We will use work in the restaurant field as an example case and discuss what kind of competence recognition model best serves companies in this field in finding the persons with proper expertise.