Virtual Reality story transcript – ABC Radio Breakfast Twmba

04 April 2018

Interview with Endeavour Foundation Project Manager and Experience Designer Lex Van Cooten, Endeavour Foundation Service Design Partner Chris Beaumont, and Heritage Bank Senior Sales and Service Manager Kevin Gates.

Iliffe says there are many things we take for granted in our everyday lives because they are so easy to do that people with disabilities have a hard time with. He says some of them are so challenging that they won't even try them.

Iliffe says the Endeavour Foundation in Toowoomba unveiled its latest virtual reality learning program yesterday to help people with disabilities learn to use ATMs.

Iliffe says the ATM training tool puts users at the bottom of busy Ruthven St looking for an ATM to withdraw money.

Van Cooten says they are recreating a real-world situation where people can cross the road and withdraw from an ATM so persons with disabilities can gain confidence in completing a real-world activity in a safe and virtual environment.

He says the biggest challenge they've had is the user interface.

Beaumont says the arrival of virtual reality technology allowed organisations like Endeavour to develop a whole range of virtual learning experiences for people with intellectual disabilities that could prove challenging for them.

He explains that the programs allow people to learn from mistakes in a safe and virtual environment that can teach them the repercussions of such mistakes before heading out in the real world.

Beaumont says they have about 10 packages live now.

He explains they partnered with Aurizon for a train safety program.

He adds they also partnered with Queensland Rail before.

He adds they also have a cafe simulation program with South Bank TAFE.

Beaumont talks about their other programs and says the biggest application is in business services.

He says they support over 2500 people in employment around Australia who have low literacy levels.

Beaumont says they built the virtual environments because it is expensive and time-consuming to recreate similar scenarios in real life.

Iliffe says the program was conceived by accident when Toowoomba's Heritage Bank was deciding on a charity to support with the proceeds from one of its annual fundraising initiatives.

Gates says they run a calendar charity donation which they share between five districts.

He says one of their employees at the Kmart branch suggested they support Endeavour.

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