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Business people get a taste of teaching secondary students

Local business people get a taste of teaching secondary school students

PRESS RELEASE: Monday 18 April 2011.

Business people from Zespri, Woods Creative, Catalyst R & D and Locus Research, as well as representatives from the Sustainable Business Network, spent time with local secondary school students outside the classroom last week as part of the 2011 Young Innovator Awards.

The awards are an initiative of economic development agency Priority One, and are designed to encourage secondary school students to be innovative in their problem solving by designing a new or improving an existing product or service for the business environment.

The competition is judged by business people who are selected for their expertise in innovation, communication, creativity, research and sustainability, as well as their understanding of how each aspect relates to problem solving. To prepare students for the competition, each judge gave an interactive presentation based on one of the five categories that will be considered when selecting this year’s winner.

The importance of creative and innovative thinking in business is well-known, particularly in the development of new products and services. At a recent Asia New Zealand forum for school principals and educationalists, keynote speaker Dr Yong Zhao emphasised the importance of young people developing creative and innovative talents so they are able to take advantage of the vast opportunities presented by technological changes and globalisation, and deal with the challenges. Dr Zhao is the Chair of Global Education and On-Line Learning at the University of Oregon and a renowned expert in education reform to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.

The Young Innovator Awards are the creation of Priority One’s INSTEP programme, which exposes secondary school students, their teachers, principals and parents to examples of successful business practice to highlight career opportunities and pathways to ensure students become motivated and inspired to achieve their goals. INSTEP Manager, Lyn Parlane, believes the awards are a great way to promote creative and innovative thinking to secondary school students. They also benefit the business community by encouraging young people to gain important skills needed by industry if New Zealand is to compete at a global level.

Supreme and category winners of the awards will be announced in June at an event to launch Western Bay @ Work, which is a month-long programme of activities that showcase the depth and vibrancy of career opportunities in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region. New Zealander of the Year, Professor Sir Paul Callaghan, will be speaking at the launch. Sir Callaghan is a top international physicist, inventor and founding director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Victoria University, Wellington.


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