Virtual Reality revolutionises training at Maroochydore social enterprise

Local News

The Virtual Reality (VR) revolution has come to a Maroochydore social enterprise and it’s already a hit for employees with disability who will use the powerful training tool to upskill.

Forty-eight Endeavour Foundation Maroochydore employees are set to benefit from access to state-of-the-art VR technology to help them get ‘work ready’. 

Covering a range of work and life skills, employees will be able to practice activities like forklift safety, driving, and confidential document destruction in the safety of the virtual world before trying them out in the real-world.

Trainee receptionist Jamie Barling is already looking at how the VR could improve her career prospects.

“It’s so lifelike,” said Mrs Barling. “I have my driver’s licence already, but I did the driving simulation and when I put the goggles on, it was so real.

“It looked like what I see out on the road in the real-world.

“There’s one thing in the VR that I’d really like to learn and that’s the forklift and if I can get on the forklift VR then I can get my licence one day.”

Endeavour Foundation’s Executive General Manager of Work Services, Eric Teed, said the VR training modules now available made learning more intuitive, fun, and memorable.

“These VR modules are a perfect way to familiarise people with the tasks they need to do at work or help them along the path to learning new skills,” Mr Teed said.

“For many of the people we support, learning to do a complex activity such as driving a car or forklift can be especially daunting, but VR makes it fully immersive, fun, and can help cut out distractions.

“The VR programs we offer are tailor-made for people with disability and autism and focus on familiarity and comfort, but they are of course a great way for anyone to start their learning journey.

“VR bridges the gap between the classroom and the real-world, by giving people the chance to see and hear what something is like and build confidence in that activity before they try it for real.”

The new Virtual Reality Learning (VRL) hub at Endeavour Foundation’s Maroochydore social enterprise, was established using an $7,250 Commonwealth Government Stronger Communities grant, along with a co-contribution from Endeavour Foundation.

Equipment purchased with the grant includes a 75″ eBoard screen, VR headset and cable, a powerful Lenovo desktop computer and an Xbox driving wheel.

Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Ted O’Brien said he was thrilled to see the former Coalition Government’s Stronger Communities Grant making such a positive impact on the lives of people living with a disability.

“I am proud to have secured a $7,250 Stronger Community Grant in support of the Endeavor Foundation’s new Virtual Reality Learning Hub,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Experience is often the most sought-after credential for employers and this VR Hub will provide this in droves for those looking for work.”

“The ability of a job to improve people’s lives cannot be underestimated.”

Endeavour Foundation’s Maroochydore VR training hub will be housed in the David Huxley Training Room but will be mobile so it can be transported and used in different locations within the service.

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