When innovation is included in a conversation it can conjure up all sorts of thoughts from ‘just a buzz word’ to a cool tech product everyone wants. However genuine innovation, the kind that takes a leap to the next curve, can also be achieved in conservative industries when a Big Picture view is taken across complex social challenge.
This week Good Weekend covered an alternative learning model delivering an engaging high school education approach for students who found the traditional classroom model was not delivering the learning engagement they needed to reach their potential. The Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) intern model discussed in this article was picked up by LA Services in Spring 2017 in partnership with Liverpool Boys High (LBH) and has over the last 12 months provided a unique opportunity to integrate advanced manufacturing research with high school education. LA Services’ current LBH intern spends his industry days working alongside our App Developer partner Kirk Duncan (The Mobile Apps Man) and our graduate engineering Raaid Allam from Macquarie University exploring the business opportunities and STEM behind IoT, sensor communication and the development of an industrial asset software interface.
The scope of learning for both this year 10 intern and LA Services extends beyond the technical space, his design work is captured with the support of LA Services’ General Manager in a Thesis that will form part of his ‘graduate portfolio’ as entry into university.
While debate continues about Project Based Learning verses standardised education , the other benefits to BPEA’s innovation approach is how ongoing industry engagement opportunities can prepare students for the future of work, while from an industry perspective, it also delivers truly innovative thinking across the work place by having fresh young minds looking at problems from a different generation. Perhaps more importantly in the wider context of Australia’s competitive future the engagement process is starting a conversation around the dinner table about advanced manufacturing as a career path.
BPEA is yet to achieve mainstream support from authorities, so it relies on large organisations such as Origin Energy through their Origin Foundation to provide essential funding. It then requires industry education engagement with SMEs like LA Services at the school level to provide access to vital internship opportunities for these passionate students, so they can gain the experiences they require to fuel their curiosity about the world around them and in doing so establish critical lifelong learning skills.