Support staff will be given the opportunity to experience high risk situations involving people with disability through a newly launched virtual reality learning tool.
Disability support provider, House with No Steps (HWNS) Group unveiled its prototype virtual reality tool on Tuesday 28 August, after a 12 month design and development process.
The tool was brought to life through $200,000 funding received from the National Disability Services (NDS) Innovative Workforce Fund.
HWNS Group designed the tool following feedback from the disability workforce where many staffers voiced the challenges they often face when managing their client’s complex behaviours.
Chief Executive Officer of HWNS Group, Andrew Richardson describes virtual reality as a “powerful tool.”
“We want to harness it to help our support workers learn safely about high risk workplace situations,” he says.
“Having well-trained, dedicated staff is at the heart of our commitment to provide outstanding support to our customers.”
Mr Richardson also hopes other organisations will benefit from the virtual reality tool.
“We definitely see how our prototype can be used not only within our organisation, but throughout the disability services sector, to complement other methods of training.”
Strategic Innovation Lead of HWNS Group, Felicity Nelson led a team who spearheaded the project.
She says dozens of support staff were interviewed across both rural and metropolitan areas to inform the development of the tool.
“It was important for us to learn about the complex needs they encounter on a daily basis.
“Feedback from support staff who tested the prototype was also incredibly useful - we made sure we incorporated their input into successful iterations of the prototype.”
Ms Nelson says the development of the prototype is “really just the start of our journey.”
“We want to pilot the experience with groups of staff and trainers across our organisation - we want them to start to incorporate it as part of their training.”
“We’re hoping to find some additional funding to help take this exciting development forward.”
The virtual reality experience is set in a supported living home and takes roughly four minutes to complete.
The tool is continuing to be piloted with groups of staff and trainers across the HWNS organisation.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au