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The University of Queensland (UQ), via its commercialisation company, UniQuest, has signed an agreement with the Endeavour Foundation to extend its rights to deliver the innovative Latch-On literacy program for another five years.

Latch-On (Literacy and Technology Hands-On) is an evidence-based literacy program for young adults with an intellectual disability. The program provides opportunities for young adults with an intellectual disability to continue their literacy development in a post-secondary environment, using computer technology to enhance literacy, self-confidence, independence and work placement opportunities.

Latch-On combines traditional literacy and numeracy teaching styles with technology instruction. It also includes health and fitness education. The part-time, two-year program is delivered in small groups to students aged from 18 years, with an optional one-year extension.

UniQuest negotiated the first licence with Endeavour in 2004. The first Endeavour Latch-On classes were held in Newstead, Brisbane, before a purpose-built facility was established in nearby Windsor. Endeavour currently delivers Latch-On through qualified teachers to families in Brisbane, Bundaberg and Townsville.

The extension of the licence agreement coincides with Endeavour’s plans to launch a range of services to centres in NSW.

UniQuest has also licensed Latch-On to Vancouver’s North Island College and Canada’s Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, believes the license extension highlights UQ’s leadership in the commercialisation of Social Sciences research.

“The Latch-On story is an excellent example of how valuable yet non-patentable ideas can still be developed into a commercially viable service to help particular families in communities all over the world,” Mr Henderson said.

“The Latch-On program was running successfully from a small centre within the University, but by partnering with the Endeavour Foundation, Associate Professor Karen Moni, Dr Anne Jobling and their colleagues have realised their dream of giving many more students with an intellectual disability the opportunity to continue their love of learning into adulthood.”

Gail Davidson, Endeavour’s General Manager for Disability Services Operations and Community Engagement said the licence extension allowed the organisation to continue providing families with a popular and unique service.

“We have seen how Latch-On can dramatically improve the life of each student who enrols,” Ms Davidson said.

“Latch-On enhances every graduate’s sense of self-worth and confidence to seek mainstream employment, filling a gap in the education system for some of this generation’s most enthusiastic young workers.

“Endeavour would like to give all our families the opportunity to be involved with Latch-On, so extending the licensing agreement for another five years means we can plan to offer the program to more families throughout Queensland and NSW.”

For more information about Latch-On, please visit http://latchon.endeavour.com.au/index.html