Calling all budding high school innovators

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards are back again in 2022 and entries are now open for high school students from across the Sunshine Coast region. The awards are open to students in Years 9 to 12 and are designed to help bring their creative ideas to life and connect with industry mentors.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson, who has been a champion of these awards since their inception in 2016, said the awards program supported high school students to develop business ideas that use innovation or technology in a new way to solve a community, environmental or business challenge.

“While it has been a unique start to the school year, Sunshine Coast Council, in partnership with Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast, aims to deliver an awards program that supports, develops and celebrates the dedication, adaptability and resilience of our teachers and students right across the region,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The students and teachers involved in this competition each year demonstrate we are well and truly on the right track in encouraging opportunities for our young people to succeed in the 21st century,” he said.

“It is why council is supportive of programs that provide a pathway for our next generation, so they can pursue enduring careers in high-value jobs that will be in demand in the future.

“As a community, we are continuing to see the benefits from these types of initiatives, with an increase in programs such as robotics, entrepreneurship and coding being offered in schools and through extra-curricular activities.

“We know many of the jobs and careers of the future will be built around science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM subjects – so it’s incredibly important to foster these skills in our region.”

Telstra Regional General Manager May Boisen said the awards had seen some amazing ideas and projects spring from the imaginations of Sunshine Coast students.

“They are the next generation of innovators and it’s so important that all of us, in business and the community, continue to nurture and support this talent,” Ms Boisen said.

“Innovative technology is critical to keep us connected and these awards are just one way we can support the Sunshine Coast to continue to be at the forefront of innovation and fostering talent.

“These awards encourage students and schools to embrace and be creative with technology and offer a wonderful opportunity for students to network, explore and develop their passion for entrepreneurship and gain real life experience, skills and knowledge to prepare them for the next step in their journey.”

Study Sunshine Coast Program Director Tracey Coobula said the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards were a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their skills and gain real life business experience coupled with the money-can’t-buy experience of being mentored by some of the region’s most successful and forward-thinking industry leaders.

“With our focus on identifying, supporting and connecting local talent for both students and industry, we can’t wait to uncover the next rising stars of tech, innovation and business through this program,” Ms Coobula said.

A panel of judges will assess applications and 12 finalist teams will progress to the next stage, which includes a four-week industry-led mentoring program.

Mentors will help the participants develop their idea, understand their potential customers and develop a prototype.

Finalists will gain skills in presentation and public speaking in preparation for the Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony in July.

In 2021, the top gong was awarded to Glasshouse Christian College students for their creation of ‘LEDPlates’—a bright new way for learner drivers to display their ‘L’ plates, along with a compatible phone app to change the plates as needed from Ls to Ps. The LED Plates team went on to win the Generation Innovation GI Challenge.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Key dates:

  • Tuesday, February 15 – Entries open
  • Wednesday, April 27 at 11:59pm – Competition entries close
  • Friday, May 6 – Finalist teams announced, Phase Two of the competition begins
  • Tuesday, June 21 – Phase Two entries close
  • Thursday, July 14 @ 6pm – Live Pitch and Awards Ceremony @ Venue 114, Bokarina
2021 Award winners
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