How Minecraft Education is helping EY reimagine workplace learning for Gen Z

21 Feb 2024 The Louvre recreated in Minecraft

Robin Brown, Partner, EY People Consulting at Ernst & Young LLP

Justin Edwards, Director of Learning Experiences, Minecraft

For the Gen Z cohort about to embark on their careers, the world of work can seem a daunting place. Landing a job in the first place is challenging enough, but the process of adapting to the work environment, and continually acquiring new skills, can sometimes appear overwhelming. But what if there was a way to make workplace training more familiar, less stressful, and genuinely engaging?

That’s exactly what EY is attempting with Minecraft Education, using the game-based learning platform to reimagine work experiences for Gen Z. By designing compelling learning experiences in the immersive game world they already know and love, new employees can settle in quickly and become fulfilled and productive.

Taking gaming principles into new areas

An estimated 3.2 billion people around the world play video games regularly[1] and Gen Z – the generation entering the workforce now – has grown up with gaming. And many have been loyal to Minecraft for a decade or more, making it the longest-running game ever – testament to its amazing qualities and its ability to constantly evolve.

Which means Gen Z is very comfortable in the virtual world: half expect to be doing some of their work virtually in the coming years, and 71% see themselves socializing in game worlds without actually gaming.[2]

This presents a massive opportunity to design compelling workplace experiences, not just for companies, but also for their clients.

And what better place to do this than on the Minecraft platform, which already offers a highly flexible and easy-to-use environment, and can be adapted to multiple uses. Using Minecraft Education to deliver workplace training avoids the need to invest in costly new and unproven platforms – and provides opportunities to continually innovate and introduce new learning content.

By taking the power of Minecraft into a corporate learning environment, we can unleash its immense educational potential, to tell stories, solve problems, and build teamwork and communications skills – all essential capabilities for a modern workplace.

Learning in a risk-free environment

Learning in game worlds offers the chance to engage with others in a risk-free setting, where you can try out new ideas, ask questions and go on journeys without being bound by physical limitations. Players are intrinsically motivated and, of course, it’s a fun experience!

EY  teams have already trialled Minecraft for learning, with 83% of users giving the experience the highest possible score, even though three-quarters had never even played Minecraft before. Minecraft has created proven employee learning experiences as well: in 2023, the teams launched Hybrid Hero created with the Microsoft Digital Employee Experience team to teach colleagues about healthy hybrid workplace habits.

We all know how hard it is to create engaging training. But our game-based based approach can teleport people into a virtual world where they receive hands-on training, meet others and develop all manner of ‘soft’ skills. Knowledge retention was an amazing 95% – compared with just 40%-45% with conventional video-based learning courses. And Minecraft is particularly appealing for the neurodivergent, who may not always thrive in conventional work settings.

Eifel Tower recreated in Minecraft

Using Minecraft to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace

A thriving 21st century company brings together a wide variety of people. But, for various reasons, not all of us find traditional work culture easy to adapt to. One such barrier is unconscious bias against those of a different gender, ethnicity, religion, social group, profession, sexual orientation or personality type.

EY ‘Inclusive Leadership in Minecraft’ is a new immersive experience being trialed by EY,  supporting participants to explore and understand unconscious bias within a professional workspace. The game teleports the player into different cities across the world, where they interact with a range of different people to learn about their stories. Players must put themselves in the shoes of those who may suffer unconscious bias or even discrimination, whether it’s being ignored in meetings, overlooked for promotions, or struggling with dyslexia. They encounter various situations akin to real workplace scenarios, helping them foster empathy to others. A built-in response system provides feedback on the player's choices and how they impact others in the community, provoking reflection and discussion. Immersive storytelling and gameplay allows learners to experience different stories, understand the importance of varied perspectives and equal opportunities, and embrace differences in a thriving community.

Minecraft works with partners worldwide to bring inclusive learning to life in the blocky game world. For example, Minecraft Education partnered with the Microsoft Inclusive Hiring team to develop game-based resources for interviewing neurodiverse job candidates. The project resulted in a hiring playbook for other companies to use in establishing more inclusive hiring programs.

Arc de Triomphe recreated in Minecraft

Breaking down barriers in the virtual world

Gaming environments are unique in their ability to break down traditional cultural and identity barriers. In a game world, it’s less about who you are, and more about working with others to solve problems.

And gaming isn’t just the dominion of Gen Z: many millennials – and even plenty of Gen X – have also grown up as gamers, making them well-equipped to collaborate in the virtual world.

We’re thrilled about the intersection of gaming and the world of work – and the opportunities to build solutions and share ideas with colleagues and clients. The adventure is just beginning!


[1] Statista Metaverse Report 2022.

This publication contains information in summary form and is therefore intended for general guidance only. It is not intended to be a substitute for detailed research or the exercise of professional judgment. Member firms of the global EY organization cannot accept responsibility for loss to any person relying on this article.