Aussie-first drone piloting program takes flight
26 February 2021 at 2:03 pm
A new course is making technology more accessible for people with disability
People with disability are being given the skills to pilot a drone through a new free program that aims to upskill them for future employment opportunities.
The program – believed to be the first of its kind in Australia – has been specifically designed for people with mobility or dexterity impairment and equips attendees with the latest theoretical and practical aspects of drone piloting.
The first class was held on 20 February at Perth’s Langley Park, featuring students with a range of disabilities including Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Cerebral Palsy and Quadriplegia.
The course was delivered through a partnership between Western Electric Sporting Association (WESA), Techlearn and Illuminance Solutions.
WESA president Jack O’Keeffe said the course would have numerous benefits for attendees.
“People with severe disabilities are at risk of social isolation, often becoming less active in the community as their condition declines,” O’Keeffe said.
“Children with disabilities are at greater risk of dropping out of school early and not pursuing further study or training.
“This course provides not only a social connection, but will open pathways to employment.”
Techlearn CEO Pulkit Soni noted that licensed drone pilots can work in a range of industries including video, photography, mining, surveying, farming, delivery and shipping.
He said the course has attracted strong interest from the community.
“Our inaugural class had eight students aged 14 to 49, which was our maximum capacity – we had more than 15 people wanting to participate,” Soni said.
“While we have previously focused on robotics, automation and drone training in the mining industry, this is the first time we will be training differently-abled people.”
Illuminance Solutions CEO Nilesh Makwana added that it was important to provide free digital literacy programs to marginalised groups and so was happy to host the event free of charge.
“We believe everyone should have access to the latest technology training and technology opportunities and are proud to bring this latest initiative to the community,” Makwana said.
“People with disability bring valuable skills, experience and insight and are an integral part of a diverse and inclusive workforce that businesses should be aiming for.”