Bendigo South East College continued their dominance of the local science and engineering competition on Tuesday.
Building on their triumphs at last year’s local and state championships, the college scored a mammoth 1456 points, followed by Creek Street Christian College (982) and Echuca College (864).
The annual event, this year held at BSE College, hosted eight colleges from across central and northern Victoria, and included challenges such as bridge building, catapult, chair and table building and Mars robots.
The victorious college will head to a state championship, and then, if successful to a national championship later in the year – where they will be looking to improve on their fifth placed finish in 2016.
The challenge – an outreach program founded by the University of Newcastle in 2000 – is aimed at addressing a skills shortage in the science and engineering sectors.
Bendigo South Rotary Club supports the competition and club official Rod Spitty said the event was designed to encourage youngsters to look at engineering and maths as a vocation.
It’s an opportunity for students to apply their maths and engineering studies in an enjoyable way
“It’s an opportunity for students to apply their maths and engineering studies in an enjoyable way,” he said.
It was important to encourage local students to chose maths and engineering as a career choice, as they would invariably come back to regional areas to fill the skill shortage, he said.
His comments follow a ten-year plan released by the federal government – in Association with the Australian Academy of Science – in April, designed to reintroduce intermediate Year 12 mathematics subjects as a prerequisite for Australian universities’ science, engineering and commerce programs.
La Trobe University volunteer Jessica Li, who judged the catapult section, said it was great to see the way the 200 students interacted and enjoyed themselves during the event.
“We are judges, but we try to encourage problem solving by suggesting things to the students,” she said.
“The things they (students) are doing is different from what they learn in high school – we are trying to get the students to think outside of the box.”