Julie-ann Lambourne applied learning from her life as a Torres Strait Islander and the social value of assisting people to co-found enVizion, which combines cutting edge technology with intensive support and training to help people break barriers and become more employable. POPS recently caught up with Julie at the Indonesia Development Forum.
Tell us a little about the work of enVizion
enVizion is an Australian Indigenous owned and operated business that utilises cutting-edge technologies to complement traditional practices to deliver meaningful and creative employment solutions for individuals, communities, businesses and government.
We collaborate with people experiencing multiple complex barriers to identify their hopes and partner with them to design strategies so they can steer their own lives and achieve their full potential. enVizion services reduce the need for assistance from multiple agencies, thereby breaking cycles of dependency, instilling hope and inspiring positive change.
Our programs are aligned with emerging workforce trends which can be tailored to meet specific industry and employer needs. enVizion recognises the value of embedding Indigenous cultural practices and knowledge systems into finding solutions for social issues and to drive economic development in communities which also includes using new technologies to create innovative social outcomes.
At the Indonesia Development Forum, you mentioned that many indigenous people face challenges in using simple technology. How does enVizion address this digital divide?
In Australia, many remote area Indigenous communities have no, or limited, access to the internet and other associated technologies. Other barriers include low language, literacy and numeracy skills, poverty, and unemployment. These issues not only relate to remote areas but to many areas that enVizion works in.
We deliver basic digital training to first nation Australians in remote areas through enVizion’s all-terrain mobile classroom to ensure that Indigenous Australians and other disadvantaged groups are not left behind in the digital revolution. We also deliver basic coding and robotics in remote area Aboriginal communities and work with government agencies to develop virtual reality education tools to deliver programs in environment and health. Each week in our Cairns office, we offer free digital literacy training to any people from all walks of life to ensure they have access to basic computer training and devices, so they can stay connected to their families and communicate globally.
How are you maximising the potential of online platforms and related technologies to promote your goals?
enVizion is highly committed to driving and supporting innovations that have social value. We believe that technology and innovation are having and will continue to have a long-term effect on assisting people across many areas including social-based organisations.
enVizion’s online presence is currently undergoing a complete transformation to bring our digital presence up to the leading edge in online communication. We are currently exploring how technologies such as virtual and augmented realities could be best utilised in the social entrepreneurial and online learning environments.
enVizion is partnering with the Queensland Brain Institute to undertake a world-first study into the effects of virtual reality on decision making in young people who are engaging in high-risk behaviours such as vehicle theft and/or alcohol and drug use. Our development of any technological product is in partnership with world leaders in digital innovation and specialists in the subject area so the work is evidenced and measurable.
How do you exploit the cultural richness and values in the Torres Strait Islands to educate people about digital technology?
Indigenous people have an innate culture value system which we can extend into many areas of lives, both professionally and personally. Indigenous cultural customs, values and codes of behaviour are an essential part of the lives of many Indigenous people. Indigenous society for over 70,000 years relied on knowledge sharing, consensus based decision-making and respect for sustainability. These values that are embedded into enVizion program and technology development.
You mentioned Virtual Reality. Can you provide examples of activities enVizion conducts using Virtual Reality to improve people’s welfare?
enVizion’s career pathways virtual reality experience exposes Indigenous people in remote communities, many of who live in intergenerational unemployment cycles, to the range of career areas including mining, agriculture, aquaponics, health and construction.
By exposing people to virtual reality, which features Indigenous people who have succeeded in these areas, new worlds of possibilities are opened for participants. The virtual reality experience provides a user focus report for everyone on which of the scenarios the participant is most engaged with and thereby trained staff guide conversations about potential education and alternate employment pathways. This has resulted in many employment outcomes for people who previously considered themselves unemployable and their situations hopeless.
Briefly, how do you plan on entering different markets and growing your business over the next year?
enVizion is increasingly approached by all levels to provide innovative solutions to social problems and challenges. We are currently in the feasibility stage of development of a global technology centre, which will include specialised training and development in advanced technologies, cutting edge research and specialised business development and entrepreneurship programs that will open many doors for the organisation to collaborate globally. We already have interest from global digital entities and will continue to develop these connections. We made many valuable contacts in Indonesia recently and look forward to further developing these relationships in the year ahead.
POPS Profiles are interviews with leading members of the technology, business and policy communities in Asia and the Pacific.
Photo credit: Julie-ann Lambourne