Disability support workers get hi-tech training tools

by Brett Henebery27 Jul 2017
House with No Steps (HWNS) will be the first disability services provider in Australia to develop prototype virtual reality (VR) learning tools for disability support workers.

HWNS was awarded the funding from the National Disability Services (NDS) Innovative Workforce Fund and will prototype the VR learning tools in a 12-month project, in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact.

The company is one of Australia’s leading disability service providers, empowering people with a disability to live life on their own terms across NSW, QLD, and the ACT.

HWNS has been awarded $200,000 in government funding for this project, which will explore how VR can improve support for customers and build the capability of support workers.

VR is revolutionising training in other sectors, particularly in industries where workers have to manage and work in high risk environments, such as emergency services, the military, mining and construction.

Felicity Nelson, HWNS Innovation Lead, told L&D Professional that VR training can bring value to the disability support sector, as well as those living with people who have a disability.

“The purpose of the project is to learn about what value VR technology can bring to the disability sector and those living with disabilities, through training and building the capability of support workers,” Nelson said.

“We're excited about the potential of this technology, having seen how it has been applied to enhance training in other sectors, such as emergency services, the mining and construction industries.”

Nelson said the advantage of VR and AR is that it can support the development of people’s capabilities to manage complex situations by enabling learning in a safe and hands on virtual environment.

“These innovative technologies are opening up great opportunities to enhance the way people learn and develop effective work place practices,” she said.

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