CALGARY — A Calgary entrepreneur says he’s devised a solution to the age old problem of, “You need experience to get a job, but you can’t get experience until you have a job.”

Jose Azares created a virtual reality training system, dubbed NIDUM (Latin for nest), which allows prospective employees to train for a job before they head to their first interview with the company.

The owner of the restaurant chain, ReGrub, Azares originally designed the software to make his business’s hiring practices more inclusive.

“Nowadays when they go for an interview, employers or people in general are skeptical, because of the extra accommodation, the extra training, they have to provide,” he said.

“So what this is doing is basically taking the training out of the store and into a box and giving the people the chance to train even before they come to the interview.”

Azares tested his on-boarding software at his ReGrub Restaurants, but is now marketing it to other companies, and employment agencies.

“So NIDUM is creating partnerships with the different (employment) agencies we have in the city, so whenever we bring a new business into the platform we upload the modules for that business,” he said.

“And the (employment) agencies have access to all those module, so if they have an individual who wants to work for a specific business then they go to the library and say ‘OK, I want to train with this company before I go for an interview.’“

Calgary Alternative Employment Services career consultant Ashton Bennet says many employers want a more inclusive workplace but often struggle with how to achieve it.

“There are over 300 recognized disabilities and those all look a little bit different on every individual, she said,

“So the concept of accommodating each disability and what that looks like can be a little daunting for employers who have never done that before.”

She says aside from the training, NIDUM shows employers that job seekers are committed.

“It is really useful to show initiative,” said Bennet.

“It is another sign of employability, that they have gone through the module and they are ready to take on the position.”

Azares says the advanced training also helps employers save money.

“Our data shows that employees who use our VR training modules show up for work 40 to 60 per cent trained. They require much less supervision and quickly become a valuable member of the team,” he said.

“With NIDUM, employers can see how people interact with the module, so they can determine if the new hire is going to be committed and reliable.”

NIDUM held its official launch event Monday at cSPACE King Edward.

Azares has several hiring agencies ready to help staff train using NIDUM. He is currently recruiting industries in the restaurant and service sector in his first push toward more inclusive workplaces.