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Virtual Reality to Revolutionise Training for Disability Support


5 September 2018 at 5:28 pm
Maggie Coggan
A disability service provider hopes to revolutionise support training in the disability sector, unveiling a prototype for a virtual reality training tool.  


Maggie Coggan | 5 September 2018 at 5:28 pm


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Virtual Reality to Revolutionise Training for Disability Support
5 September 2018 at 5:28 pm

A disability service provider hopes to revolutionise support training in the disability sector, unveiling a prototype for a virtual reality training tool.  

The House with No Steps Group (HNSG) developed the virtual reality (VR) learning tool to help support staff experience and learn about possible high risk situations in a “safe and realistic way”.

CEO of the group, Andrew Richardson, said having well-trained staff was “at the heart” of their commitment to their customers, and believed VR was the road to go down.

“VR is a powerful tool, and we want to harness it to help our support workers learn safely about high risk workplace situations,” Richardson said.

It was developed in partnership with UNSW and the Centre for Social Impact, but support workers were closely involved in the design process.

Dozens of workers were interviewed across both rural and metro areas, which strategic innovation lead at HSNG, Felicity Nelson, said was “crucial”.

“It was important for us to learn about the complex needs they encounter on a daily basis,” Nelson said.

“Feedback from support staff who tested the prototype was also incredibly useful and we made sure it was incorporated into successive iterations of the prototype.”

Richardson said he hoped to see the prototype used not only within their organisation, but “throughout the disability services sector”.

He added the VR program would “complement” other types of training, rather than replacing them all together.

HSNG received $200,000 from the National Disability Services (NDS) Innovative Workforce Fund, which kicked off the development of the prototype, but Nelson said they were now hoping for more funding to further the project.   

“Developing the prototype is really just the start of our journey,” she said.

“We’re hoping to find some additional funding to help us take this exciting development forward.”


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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