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Spiire was engaged by the Goulburn Murray Local Learning and Employment Network (GMLLEN) and the wider collective of Victorian Local Learning and Employment Networks (VicLLENs) to design a virtual reality platform and produce content that gives students across Victoria exposure to different career paths.

VIC VICE brings workplaces to life in an immersive and interactive experience that is accessible from classrooms in the 914 schools in the VicLLENs’ state network. It aims to build aspirations and better prepare young people for the future of work and roles in demand.

Consultants wearing virtual reality headsets to explore the VIC VICE platform at Spiire Melbourne.

Building on local success

The seeds for this statewide project were sown more than two years ago, in a conversation with the GMLLEN team about using emerging technology to help tackle the high youth unemployment rate in the Goulburn Valley. Prompted by restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, we began exploring avenues to expand on traditional work experience programs by giving students access to a range of different workplaces through a single portal.

We joined forces to develop the multiple award-winning Goulburn Murray Virtual Industry Careers Experience (GM VICE), an innovative solution that connects young people with in-demand career pathways, without leaving the classroom. It is designed to offer the multitude of options available at a careers expo, couple with the immersion of walking in the door of a workplace – all in a format that’s readily accessible via personal computers or virtual reality headsets.

Since launching in 2022, GM VICE has encouraged students in the Goulburn Murray region to “step inside” local workplaces and learn about 24 professions facing skills shortages across six key industries. GM VICE has won multiple accolades in the Digital – Education and Digital – AR/ VR New Experiences categories of the Better Futures Melbourne, Australian and WILD Design Awards.

Scaling up statewide

Following on from the project’s success in the Goulburn Valley, a second phase was instigated supported by funding from the Victorian Government. This next iteration, VIC VICE, scales up the original concept to bring a Virtual Industry Careers Experience to students across the entire state.

The project aims to introduce students to a broad range of workplaces within three priority areas: food and fibre (horticulture and agriculture), transport and logistics, and health and community services.

Students can explore these workplaces in an immersive, interactive and multi-sensory way, through a series of 360-degree videos that capture big, bold experiences complete with interactive touchpoints that invite students to become part of the story. They can also enter complete 3D simulated environments that challenge them to put their skills to the test with gamified simulations of real-life workplace activities.

The experience centres around interactivity, aiming to appeal to students’ sense of fun and spark conversations with teachers, friends and families.

Strategic technical delivery

Our Visual Media team’s creative use of technology extends from the content production through to a considered approach for delivering an easy to use and manage platform for educators around the state.

The team created ten 360-degree videos, from shooting through to post-production and software development. These videos feature interviews with real people, complete with interactive touchpoints that provide calls to action for students to participate in the experience.

We also created simulated environments that students navigate through, featuring video-game style challenges of workplace activities. This includes modelling the 3D characters that populate the simulated environments and capturing voice and motion from actors to bring the characters to life in a realistic way.

Our approach to the distribution and content management system prioritised simplicity and ease of use in classrooms around Victoria. We created the VIC VICE app, which individual LLENs and schools can use to customise the experience they offer students to explore. Through extensive due diligence on headset manufacturers and distribution solutions, we developed a solution fit for an enterprise-level rollout, which allows easy management of the fleet of 200+ headsets.

We are incredibly proud to see this project launch in classrooms around Victoria and inspire the next generation.

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