St Mary’s College Toowoomba secures second Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards; Fairholme College wins Best Pitch Award

Sole Solution of St Mary’s College Toowoomba has won the second Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards (formerly Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards) with an innovative idea of interchangeable sports shoe soles to reduce landfill.

The inaugural competition saw six schools from across the region generating ideas and developing them through to the final pitch and presentation.

Fairholme College received the Best Pitch Award, in recognition of their talent for pitching their idea to the judges at the presentation night.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the second Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards had been a real success and they would only grow into the future.

“The schools generated concepts that ranged from an app promoting Indigenous culture and tourism to edgy custom 3D-printed prosthetic limbs,” Mayor Antonio said.

“Council partnered with Telstra, TAFE Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to deliver the awards with the winning team receiving a trip to Sydney including an exclusive guided tour of Telstra’s Customer Insight Centre. Winning team members will also receive the latest smart devices thanks to Telstra.

“The Toowoomba Region has rich traditions in technology and innovation and bold ambitions for our local students.

“The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards builds on our ambitions for the future and encourages students in our region to start thinking today about the possibilities of tomorrow.

“Through this competition, we have been looking for a new and creative use of technology or a new technological idea – it could be a new app, new concepts in social media, gaming technology or robotics.

“The awards were launched in July and were open to students in years 9 to 12 across the Toowoomba Region and have the purpose of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, helping students to unlock their problem-solving potential and take their big technology ideas to the next level,” Mayor Antonio said.

“I would like to congratulate the schools that have entered this year and encourage other schools in our region to take part in the future.

Mayor Antonio said that Council hoped to work with our partners to continue to deliver this excellent initiative into the future.

Telstra Regional General Manager May Boisen said Telstra was proud to partner with the Toowoomba Regional Council, USQ and TAFE Queensland South West to help local student’s kick-start their future in technology with the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards.

“As we all know, technology is changing the way we live and work and it has never been more important for us to encourage all Queenslanders to embrace technology so they can thrive at school, in the workplace and in their everyday lives,” Ms Boisen said.

“Through initiatives like the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, our Tech Savvy Seniors program and our partnership with Code Club Australia, Telstra is working to increase the skills of Queenslanders of all ages to enable them to get connected online.

“For the last few years, the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards have challenged teenagers from Toowoomba to Bundaberg to develop and market the next big technology idea which could help shape everyone’s future.

“A big congratulations goes to the seven high school finalists in this year’s awards, who have been outstanding and shown all of us what you can accomplish with the right mentoring and bit of encouragement. Well done!”

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the Awards not only promoted innovative thinking in young people but also helped address skills shortages in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields.

“This program is about giving high school students an exciting and hands-on experience, enabling them to bring their technology ideas to life with the help of mentors provided by USQ,” Professor Mackenzie said.

USQ is a proud supporter of the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards and the role it plays in inspiring students to pursue a career in the technology industry.

TAFE Queensland South West Director of Corporate Solutions Michele Berkhout said TAFE Queensland is proud to support the Telstra Innovation Awards, a program that fosters innovation in the next generation of business and industry leaders.

“By participating in this program, students from around the region have gained valuable experience in bringing an idea to life from concept to product and have connected with professional networks from the local business community,” Ms Berkhout said.

“As an educational partner of the Telstra Innovation Awards, we are thrilled to be supporting the development of practical skills in the community, particularly in the STEM industries.”

Award Winners

Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards Winners

First – St Mary’s College (Sole Solution)

Second – St Mary’s College (Match Practice)

Third – St Mary’s Practice (IndigiTech)

Best Pitch Award

Fairholme College

About the Awards

The Awards consisted of two (2) separate competition phases in Terms 3 and 4 of the 2019 school year, as well as a Final Pitch and Presentation Night.

  • Phase 1 – Idea Generation
  • Phase 2 – Idea Development and Refinement
  • Final Pitch and Presentation night

Three individuals from the finalist teams will be chosen by the Award Mentors to receive the Best Pitch Award. This award recognises students that show a real flair for pitching their idea to the judges at the presentation night.

The Awards commenced on 22 July 2019 and concluded on 30 October 2019 with the Final Pitch and Presentation Night at the University of Southern Queensland.

/Public Release. View in full here.