The 20 Squared, a Workforce Plus Initiative
20 Squared, a Workforce Plus initiative, was funded by the Department of Jobs and Small Business Empowering Youth Initiative Round 1 to develop and trial a virtual reality (VR) work experience game for the disability services sector. The aim is to “provide young people with an insight into and the confidence to engage with work through playing the game prior to entering real work experience”.
The project plan for 20 Squared involved four phases:
Phase 1 & 2, the development phases, included:
- Intensive work with 40 very vulnerable young people in Broadmeadows (northern Melbourne) and Colac (South West Victoria) in a co-design and development model. The young people engaged with pre-vocational training and real work experience (vocational placement) over two x 6 month periods and during that time provided 20 Squared with input into and information to inform the script and messaging for the VR and the game scenarios.
- Successful development of the VR work experience game prototype, now known as Work Pl>ys VR. This included scripting, filming, editing and coding to produce a prototype ready for trialling or market testing.
Phase 3, the trial phase, involved trialling the VR game with 526 young people, gaining their feedback and tracking their progress into work experience, work and/or education.
Phase 4, the evaluation phase, involved establishing an evaluation framework to ensure key data was collected throughout the project and used for formative and summative evaluation purposes. The summative evaluation includes analysis of quantitative and qualitative data relating to each of the phases and draws conclusions in relation to the effectiveness of the project methodology in delivering the desired outcomes. It also looks at the veracity of the proposed VR work experience solution in moving young people closer to readiness for work experience and the outcomes achieved for Phase 1 & 2 and Phase 3 participants (noting that the experience for participants in Phase 3 was vastly different from that of Phase 1 & 2).
The 20 Squared Project Advisory Committee consists of representatives from key partners, disability service employers and sector representatives. The Advisory Committee met regularly and provided input into the project including information and perspectives on the workforce development challenges facing the sector, connections to key people and strategic advice on future directions.
Workforce Plus underpinned the project with strong partnerships and a range of collaborations from traditional employment service sector providers and employers as well as non-traditional providers from the creative industries and community sectors.
As a result of this project Workforce Plus has been able to:
- Develop and market test a virtual reality work experience game that, after a strong proof of concept process, is confirmed as being effective in influencing young people to take up work experience in the disability services sector.
- Assist 72.5% of Phase 1 & 2 participants into work experience, employment, education/training & volunteering.
- Influence 72.2% (or 380) of Phase 3 trial testers to move into work experience, employment, education/training & volunteering.