FUTURISTIC: Member for Maranoa David Littleproud gets a crash course in the virtual experience created by STEPS Group.
FUTURISTIC: Member for Maranoa David Littleproud gets a crash course in the virtual experience created by STEPS Group. Contributed

Virtual reality bus ready to visit Woorabinda

WOORABINDA has been announced as one of 15 outback Queensland towns set to benefit from a state-of-the-art program to inspire job seekers.

National Disability Coordination Officers are hitting the road for a 3405 km, 23-day trip to change the futures of those living in remote communities.

The vehicle of choice is a specially-fitted virtual reality bus which will allow participants to try their hand (virtually) at mining, agriculture, health, construction, horticulture and aquaponics.

The program is an initiative of the Federal Government's Department of Education and Training and is working to assist people with disability access tertiary education and subsequent employment, through its network of regionally based officers.

Queensland NDCOs have partnered with enVizion to offer the virtual reality experience, which has successfully toured remote and rural Indigenous communities in northern areas of the state.

The road trip will also visit Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville, Cloncurry, Cunnamulla, Hughenden, Longreach, Richmond, Winton, Mt Isa, St George, Charters Towers, Emerald and Roma, giving 448 participants a chance to try the virtual reality experience.

"Olly" the VR bus, owned by enVizion Cairns, will be touring regional Queensland communities as part of the 'Visualise your Future' project. Contributed

The project will provide real-world guidance in employment and further education, to increase community engagement and promote economic participation.

"After the virtual reality goggles are removed, participants will receive guidance on local social, education and career services that may help them on a new pathway,” Ms Irwin said.

STEPS Group Australia NDCO David Swayn said the job market had been stagnant for many years and a new approach was needed.

"The use of technology that we'll be bringing to these 15 communities will be engaging, exciting and a fresh approach to meaningful discussions on realistic career aspirations,” he said.

"It's intended that 'Olly' the virtual reality bus will help establish a platform to build future collaborations over the coming years.”

STEPS Group Australia NDCO Debbie Rooskov said the landmark project would offer a one-of-a-kind experience for participants.

"Our project 'Visualise your Future' is all about raising aspirations of careers, education, training and employment,” she said.

"Participants will be immersed in a digital environment where they experience motivational and informative themes via a storytelling format.

"We haven't done anything on this geographical scope before.

"We're hoping to see a range of jobseekers, people leaving school, and mature age community members looking for a career change visiting the bus.”

The adventure kicks off in Charters Towers on Monday, October 15, and will arrive in Woorabinda as the final stop of the tour on Tuesday, November 6.

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