Engaging with the next generation of science and engineering professionals was the order of the day at HMAS Cairns for the inaugural Schools Engineering Challenge.
CAPTION: Cairns High School students participate in a series of science and engineering challenges at HMAS Cairns, as part of a collaboration between Defence Work Experience Program and ADF Careers. Story by Lieutenant Claire McIntosh. Photo by Nel Archer.
In a collaboration with the Defence Work Experience Program and ADF Careers, HMAS Cairns hosted teams from three local high schools for a day of hands-on science and engineering challenges.
The students, predominantly from Year 11 and 12, competed in four different STEM tasks to see who would rise above the rest and be declared the victor.
Tasks ranged from robotics to damage control, with teams challenged to find creative solutions to practical problems, generating an interest in the wide variety of STEM-related Defence careers available.
Fleet Support Unit North East Regional Manager Lieutenant Commander Kyle Kaddatz was delighted to introduce the students to the career possibilities offered in Navy.
“It was great to see what the next generation of STEM practitioners built to solve the problems we presented them. Their teamwork and out-of-the-box thinking produced results that blew away our wildest expectations, requiring some quick thinking on the judges’ part of how to rank their solutions,” Lieutenant Commander Kaddatz said.
Elliott Smyth, team member from Trinity Anglican School, found the day enjoyable and instructive.
“It was really fun to experience and solve the engineering challenges presented, as they were all very interesting to understand in their own regard,” Mr Smyth said.
“A lot was learned when it came to being creative, resourceful and confident in design.”
Plans are already being considered for how to improve and expand the activity in the future.
“We are already planning the next iteration of this event,” Lieutenant Commander Kaddatz said.
“It’s important that we demonstrate the potential of a career in Navy to STEM-minded students.”