SAP discovers young talent for Australia’s ICT future

Sydney, AustraliaSAP Australia today announced the winners of this year’s Young ICT Explorers (YICTE) competition, discovering young talent for Australia’s ICT future. Taking place for the fifth consecutive year across five locations around Australia, 520 with 234 projects competed to become the best Young ICT Explorers in their region and age category.

The not-for-profit event, which is backed by Digital Careers, the Australian Government – Department of Communications and the Queensland Government supported by The University of Queensland, Swinburne University, University of New South Wales, Australian National University and James Cook University looks to address the ICT skills mismatch in Australia by encouraging innovation and a passion for technology in schools and among Australia’s youth. Responding directly to the demand for education programs of this type, this year the competition was extended out of New South Wales and Queensland and opened up to schools in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and an additional event in Queensland, in Townsville.

Participants from years 3 to 12 gathered across their region to demonstrate their creativity and technology innovation and were judged by industry professionals and academics. Each project was assessed on the criteria of creativity, uniqueness, quality, level of difficulty and project documentation, and entries were wide and varied – from a robot designed to help the blind or partially blind, to a solar powered wireless weather station that connects to a smartphone, to a prosthetic arm that can be controlled by the mind.

The program has already seen successes for students, such as Brynlea Gibson, a year-8 student from St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Queensland with a passion for technology. Brynlea achieved first place in her categories at the YICTE competition in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was most recently awarded as the winner of the secondary student category at the coveted IT industry awards, the iAwards, in 2014. Her award recognized her ongoing multimodal ICT-based project entitled ICTinMe, an inspiring combination of physical computing, human-interface and hardware design and construction as well as game and software development in a context of sharing and self-regulated constructivist learning.

“Like thousands of other students in upper primary and secondary schools across Australia I enjoy making things with ICT,” said Brynlea. Over the last four years Brynlea has gained top places at the Young ICT Explorer’s competition, but this year was also chosen to represent Queensland in the secondary student category for the iAwards. “Through initiatives like Young ICT Explorers, students like myself can engage in the fantastic world of ICT,” she added.

Greg Miller, vice president and general manager of SAP Global Partner Operations for Australia and New Zealand, said, “Each year we see the calibre of entrants exceed the last, and once again the bar was raised high. The innovation we saw this year demonstrates how important it is for the wider industry to invest in supporting Australia’s digital future. When given encouragement and support, Australia’s youth excel in innovation, and it’s exciting to discover the talent that will be entering our ICT industry in the next five to ten years.”

“Australia faces big challenges when it comes to equipping our next generation of talent with relevant and competitive skills,” he added. “At the same time, we face continually rising levels of youth unemployment. We have to scale programs like Young ICT Explorers drastically if we are to meaningfully counter these pressing socioeconomic trends in Australia.”

“We are encouraged by the increased interest in ICT this event has triggered,” said Karsten Schulz, National Program Director, Digital Careers at NICTA. “Young ICT Explorers is a prime example of how industry and educators can provide the platform on which Australia’s youth can unleash their creativity and innovation,”

For images of the winners and each of the events, please see here: https://sendto.stwgroup.com.au/message/n3GxUU9Ny7NoEMhSTeUv6M

The 2014 Young ICT Explorers Winners

Below is a full list of award winners in each category across five regions:

Year 5 – 6 Canberra Girls’ Grammar School, A Little Hand (by Paris McMahon)
Canberra Girls’ Grammar School, Scratch Projects (by Emily Turner)
Year 7 – 8 Canberra Grammar School, Reduce Your Emissions (by Thomas Faulder, Timothy Muya)
Year 9 – 10 Canberra Grammar School, Geburtstag (by Christopher Seidl, Benjamin Maliel, Ben McLean)
Year 11 -12 St Francis Xavier College, Smart Soccer. By Nathan Potter, Alexander Cavalli, Jordan Haddrick
New South Wales
Year 3 – 4 Newington College, Pandemics and Pestilence (by Luke Canter)
Wahroonga Public School, The Raspberry Pi Guys (by Finn Rees, Jasper Avtarovski, Lachlan Hunt, Henry Pallister)
Year 5 – 6 Neutral Bay Public School, BIN I.T. (by Declan Predavec, Nicolas Palmer, Nikita Pussell)
Wahroonga Public School, The Electronic Mate (by Aditya Bansal)
Year 7 – 8 Mosman High School, Car Share Space Monitor (by Callum Predavec)
Year 9 – 10 Manly Selective, Digital Merit System (by Dennis Gann, Harrison Scott, Daniel Kimber)
Year 11 – 12 Chatswood High School, Reverie (by Elijah Su’a-huirua)
North Queensland
Year 4 – 5 Ryan Catholic College, Let’s See ADHD (by Samuel Short)
Year 6 – 7 Holy Spirit School, Touring Queensland (by Sarah Waddell and Hayden Dunlop)
Year 8 – 9 Whitsunday Anglican School, uTECH Website (by Jake Magro, John Hatfield and Alex Herron)
Year 10 – 12 Ryan Catholic College, WAI App (by Jason Hill)
South East Queensland
Year 4 – 5 St Columba’s School, The Global Farmer’s Friend (FF) (by Atlas Mark1 by Dominic Cleary, Noah Fenech, James Rush)
Year 6 – 7 Milton State School, Naplancraft (by Elliot Alexander, Darcy Border, Joseph Zhang)
Year 8 – 9 Kenmore State High School, Tricorder (by Michael Schulz)
Year 10 – 12 Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Girls for Girls web app (by Ashley McGregor)
Year 5 – 6 Doncaster Gardens Primary School, Pingball (by James Bui, Joshua Poon, Ken Gene Quah and Jun Hua Chen)
Year 7 – 8 Belgrave Heights Christian School, Flappy Bat (by Nathan Mitchell and Dylan Fabre)
Year 9 – 10 Good News Lutheran College, MMD Animated Video Project (by Claire Wurster)
Year 11 – 12 Caulfield Grammar School, BitVest (by Jonte De Zwart)

About Digital Careers

Digital Careers (www.digitalcareers.edu.au) is funded by the Australian Government as represented by the Department of Communications. Digital Careers is led by NICTA and is a four-year program aimed at increasing the number of tertiary ICT students – and indirectly, the number of ICT professionals – in Australia, by promotion ICT study and careers.

Digital Careers grew out of a program called Group X that was established in 2007 by The University of Queensland, The Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, and the Queensland Government. The Group X founders were Paul Bailes, Michael Blumenstein, Peter Grant, Simon Kaplan, Gavin Keeley, John Puttick, and Paul Russell. In June 2013, the Commonwealth Government injected a $6M funding boost for the program – with matching contributions to come from industry, universities and state governments- to commence an Australia-wide roll-out.

About SAP

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