New Virtual Reality Tool to Train Disability Support Workers
20 July 2017 at 3:12 pm
A leading disability provider has secured funding to develop an innovative virtual reality prototype to enhance the training, skills and work practices of disability support staff.
House with No Steps (HWNS) was awarded $200,000 from the National Disability Services Innovative Workforce Fund, on Wednesday, to develop the “cutting-edge” technology over the next 12 months.
Developed in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact, the virtual reality prototype will aim to enhance the capabilities of disability support workers with respect to risk-related scenarios in their workplace and create new opportunities for learning through lifelike scenarios.
The project will also invite feedback from National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants as co-learners.
HWNS strategic innovation lead Felicity Nelson told Pro Bono News the technology created an opportunity for the workforce to practice responses to risk-related events in a safe environment.
“Research shows evidence of virtual reality being used very successfully in other risk environments, such as mining, construction and emergency services, and the reason we found that interesting was our support workers work in environments with customers that do present risk situations,” Nelson said.
“This technology provides a way for being able to learn about those sorts of experiences without having to [experience them] in real world environments.”
Nelson said virtual reality would “certainly” be an asset in developing future workforces.
“Disability is a growing area, we are going to need more support workers and to develop those people quickly and effectively. New technology can provide a significant role in responding to both of those needs,” she said.
HWNS CEO Andrew Richardson said the “cutting edge technology” provided the opportunity for HWNS workforce and customers to engage in “immersive and experiential learning”.
“This award from the NDS Innovative Workforce Fund is an honour to receive and a testament to House with No Steps’ commitment to innovation to help people with disability live a great life,” Richardson said.