In Australia, the Endeavour Foundation is trying to help young adults with intellectual disabilities learn news skills that might help them prepare for entering work. To do this, the foundation has turned to virtual reality (VR).
The not-for-profit organisation is in the process of rolling out 15 VR training programs which use the Oculus Rift to help teach teenagers who are living with an intellectual disability how to do things such as use an ATM, safely cross the road or catch a train.
In addition to everyday tasks, the VR training also provides the basis for learning how to become a barista, or navigate around a workplace such as a warehouse on construction site, pointing out the dangers of things such as forklifts.
To gain funding for the programs, the Endeavour Foundation has partnered with corporations such as Haritage Bank, Transurban and insurance companies such as XL Catlin and Aurizon.
Endeavour Foundation service design and implementation partner Chris Beaumont said: “In each case we worked on a training course that has a link to their business, which meets the goals and needs of our customers. With Transurban we built the pedestrian safety VR training, with Aurizon we did train safety and with XL Catlin we did forklift safety. The most popular courses are pedestrian, train safety, how to become a barista and how to use an ATM. We’re also about to release a driving simulation, which is one of the big things kids look for when they leave school and want to move out from Mum and Dad.”
Beaumont said that the Endeavour Foundation is looking for other corporate partners to help sponsor the development of other new courses, particularly in retail and hospitality areas.
“These are seen as real entry level job options and they’re interested in over the counter sales, or learning how to use the self-service checkouts, so we’re looking for companies like Woolworths, Coles or IGA and others in those sectors. In hospitality they’re looking to learn skills like food preparation,” Beaumont said.
For future coverage on new applications for VR technology, keep checking back with VRFocus.