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Western Bay of Plenty Students ‘Leave their Mark'

Western Bay of Plenty Secondary Students ‘Leave their Mark’

PRESS RELEASE: Tuesday 31 July 2012: The Young Innovator Awards (YIA) aim to inspire and encourage secondary school students to become true young innovators. With the call to action “leave your mark”, students in this year’s competition were challenged to think creatively and to come up with innovative and sustainable ideas for the design of a product or service.

YIA recognises that, as a region, we need to be proactive and use our expertise through innovation and sustainability to make us globally competitive for the future. YIA aims to inspire students to become true creative innovators through learning the basics of exploring and spotting opportunities, developing ideas, creating something and realising it.

This is the third year the competition has been running. It is an initiative led by Priority One’s Instep programme, Locus Research, a product development agency and Woods Creative, a creative agency focused on branding. The awards are also supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

As part of the launch of Western Bay@Work month at the TECT Arena and in front of representatives from local government, business and education and community organisations, 19 finalists were recognised for their efforts.

The keynote speaker at the function was Mark Pennington of Formway Design – one of New Zealand’s most highly awarded and commercially successful designers and design educators. On viewing the finalist submissions, Mark said he was amazed at what the students had been able to achieve and commented “It is so important to foster innovation and creativity as both a skill and a mindset in our young people, and to encourage them to think and act sustainably too. YIA is a great initiative and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to meet some of these students with their bright ideas – they’re our future”.

Five judges representing: Zespri, Locus Research, Woods Creative, Catalyst R&D and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment selected the finalists from over 60 entrants from seven Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty secondary schools. The judges used the five categories of research, communication, sustainability, innovation and creativity to select the finalists, and ultimately the Supreme winners.

This year’s Supreme Senior winner was Melanie Duff from Tauranga Girls’ College with her innovation of a sustainable and re-useable cup. The judges felt that her submission was a well thought out solution to the problem of reheating cold drinks.

Aidan Winch from Mount Maunganui College was awarded the Junior Supreme Winner’s prize for what the judges felt was a very clever, very simple solution to the problem of not knowing how much medicine is left within an asthma inhaler.

Each of the finalists and the highly commended students were awarded a certificate. The two Supreme winners each received a $1000 cheque from local businesses that supported the initiative, a specially designed trophy and an invitation to attend the Sustainable Business Awards in Rotorua.

In addition to the existing awards, an internship was awarded to Sam Boggiss from Aquinas College for his “Maths Mate” phone application. Sam will spend two weeks working at Locus Research and Woods Design Agency. The directors of both companies said Sam will not be expected to make coffee but will be mentored to work through a project of his choice.

Another opportunity provided for all YIA finalists this year is a People’s Choice Award. Shoppers at Bayfair Shopping Centre this week will be able to view the students amazing work and vote for who they think should win the People’s Choice Award.

Timothy Allan, Managing Director of Locus Research said “There is so much valuable learning that takes place through entering YIA. It was great to see a number of students entering again this year. We look forward to building on this initiative with more students taking up the challenge in 2013.”

Lyn Parlane, Manager of Priority One’s Instep programme, has been overwhelmed by the huge support provided by the business community for YIA. She said, “The ability to problem solve, think outside the square and communicate clearly are transferable skills businesses need in their employees, both now and in the future.”


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