Imparting life-long business and entrepreneurship skills was the aim of a recent partnership between Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter and the Business Centre that saw 11 students from St Philips Christian College participate in a business commercialisation program, the STEM Defence + Innovation Program.
RDA Hunter is funded by the Federal Department of Defence to help deliver Australia’s Workforce Behind the Defence Force via its ME Program. The ME Program facilitates a range of activities such as the STEM in Defence Innovation Program to provide secondary school students with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as well as enterprise skills in preparation for careers in Defence and defence industries.
The three month program culminated in the STEM Innovation and Defence Pitch night held at the Business Centre’s premises in Newcastle. Students pitched their innovations, including mind-controlled prosthetic hands, autonomous trollies and stealth drones – honed over many months during their iSTEM studies, to an expert panel which comprised Officer Commanding of the Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office, Group Captain David Abraham, Manager of the F18 Classic Hornet Program for Boeing Defence Australia, Claire Kluge and the Business Centre CEO, Pierre Malou.
The pitch night resulted in two immediate commercialisation outcomes – Year 12 student Kenyon McMahon successfully commercialised his Rocket Booster Kit with Boeing Defence ordering a prototype Class kit for use in schools and Jack Staples, who invented an Autonomous Trolley, has obtained an Internship at Obelisk Systems where he will work to have his follow-me technology incorporated into their StarLAB STEM education Platform.
Watch the pitch night video here
Following the success of the 2017/18 program, RDA Hunter will broaden its partnership with the Business Centre in 2018/19. The program will be rolled out to a larger and more diverse group of schools across the region. Further information will be released soon.