Parkes High School wins award with plan to help workers adapt in an age of automation

A plan to futureproof workers affected by automation through a reskilling website and app has secured Parkes High School the title as 2019 Game Changer Challenge Dubbo collaboration champions.

The school was among nine public high school teams that travelled to Dubbo on August 8 and 9 for the Game Changer Challenger, which was brought to western NSW for the first time.

The teams were asked to answer the 2019 Challenge question, 'how might we utilise technology for the betterment of humanity?'

Parke High School's pitch to help those affected by automation was known as EGG, because 'it symbolised a new life' for workers.

The Parkes team was concerned about 'jobs being taken by robots' particularly in mining and manufacturing.

Their digital networking egg used technology such as a website and social media - as well as a physical meeting place - for young people to connect with jobs, to network or upskill.

The team won the collaboration award for the effective way they had worked together and with others during the one-day Game Changer Challenge.

Narromine High School was overall winner with its plan to drought-proof their region through a water recycling and education system.

The day began with students asking questions of a panel of local businesspeople across a range of topics including the major challenges in incorporating high-end technology in rural and remote locations and how companies could sustain regional jobs in an age of automatisation.

As part of the event, students were taken through a 'design sprint' where they came up with a problem they wanted to address and then worked through a solution that was then pitched to a panel of judges including Regional Development Australia export development manager Andrew Foley and Bart Sykes, Charles Sturt University Dubbo campus manager, Leader Life CEO Joh Leader.

During the pitch session the teams came up with solutions to a range of issues affecting regional Australia including water restrictions, social isolation, community connection and empathy, the city-country divide, maintaining health professionals in regional communities and bringing new job opportunities to the bush.

Judging panel spokesperson NSW Department of Education director Linda Doherty said the range of issues addressed had impressed the judges.

"We really felt they had addressed issues that were of concern within their own communities and had designed very practical solutions that could be easily implemented," Ms Doherty said.

The Challenge was held as part of Education Week, now in its 65th year, which is an annual event to celebrate NSW public education and communicate the achievements of schools, their students, staff and families.

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