A series of virtual reality (VR) simulations are helping young people with learning impairments in Australia to prepare for employment.
The training simulations are run on the Oculus Rift VR headset and are part of a ‘Virtual Learning Environment’ project by disability charity the Endeavour Foundation, originally developed in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology.
Users can experience a range of VR scenarios to build skills for specific jobs, such as barista and warehouse operative.
In addition to employment, other training programmes focus on a variety of real-world situations, such as using an ATM, catching a train and pedestrian safety. The idea behind the project is to let people experience these scenarios in a safe, controlled environment, for users who might otherwise find the situations stressful or overwhelming.
The aim is to build confidence and get the user used to certain environments, so that they feel equipped to deal with the situations later on.
The simulations were funded by partnering with relevant companies for each programme (including a banking firm, insurance company and rail freight company), whose business is then represented in the simulation.
Currently, the Endeavour Foundation operates around 15 programmes, with more planned for the future, including a driving simulator.
Read more about the Endeavour Foundation’s work at the charity’s website.