The prestigious Hinkler Innovation Award will this year include a junior category for the first time, a move which has been welcomed by young STEM ambassadors.
Now in its third year, the award named after Bundaberg’s famous pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler celebrates exceptional individuals who have made local, national and international contributions to innovation or entrepreneurship and are leading the way in Australian innovation.
Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey said with outstanding young people making contributions in STEM and innovation throughout the region the Junior Hinkler Innovation Award was a natural progression.
“The Junior Hinkler Innovation Award is a new category that will highlight the achievements of young people up to 25 years old who are making a real difference in our community through innovative pursuits,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“I’m always amazed by the number of high-quality submissions we receive for this award and by expanding it to include both a junior and senior category we can create more recognition for local entrepreneurs.
“We hope this will also encourage and motivate young people to continue with innovative pursuits later in life and even launch them on to an entrepreneurial career path.”
The Generator Bundaberg community manager Tamar Boas said the innovation hub was pleased to once again partner with Council to present the Hinkler Innovation Awards.
“This award is a community-led collaboration to celebrate and validate our entrepreneur community,” Tamar said.
“We see this award as an activation point to encourage local innovators of all ages to build towards global expansion.”
Bundaberg State High School STEM ambassador Brayden Sander said the Junior Hinkler Innovation Award was great motivation for young people interested in the innovation field.
“I think it's very important because it encourages other people to get involved as well and gives them motivation to keep doing well because they've been given this award or they've been nominated for this award,” Brayden said.
He’s already been involved in a range of innovation projects including an overseas trip last year to rebuild connections between Australian and Papua New Guinea schools and said he was very interested in STEM.
“The program was the first program of its kind and we basically worked with other PNG students who were strong STEM like-minded people.
“I like actually figuring out the answer and the challenge that comes with it and working through the process to find out what needs to be changed and finding a way to fix it.”
Fellow Year 10 student Lleyton Peterson is a CQUniversity STEM ambassador and has delivered classes to engage younger students in the field.
“I like getting people interested in STEM just because STEM is largely related to furthering our understanding of the principles of how things work and how the world around us works,” Lleyton said.
“If more people will get interested in how to find out about new ways or new ideas of making things work, then we can produce new products or just simply new ways of doing things that are more efficient or effective.”
Mayor Dempsey encouraged people to nominate local changemakers for the junior and senior Hinkler Innovation Award.
“Let’s celebrate our innovators, who knows, they could be the next Bert Hinkler,” he said.
Nominations are now open for the Hinkler Innovation Awards and people are encouraged to nominate those they believe would be a fitting recipient.
For nomination criteria and to nominate head to the website.
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