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Empired’s Inaugural School Hackathon with St George’s Anglican Grammar School and Rio Tinto

The inaugural St George’s Anglican Grammar School Hackathon was an initiative which started as a conversation nearly a year ago. This conversation began with Rio Tinto Information Systems & Technology Manager, Judy Cooper and Mathematics Teacher, Peter Freer who heads up St George’s Robotics and Coding Club.

Empired came into place to complete this convergence of technology, industry and community. This event saw Empired and Rio Tinto representatives run four after school workshops at St George’s and a final pitch night. St George’s students performed outstandingly with many innovative, polished and witty solutions presented. The evening of presentations, where parents and friends were invited, was accompanied by some very cool original music pieces performed by the school band reminiscent of Faithless and Massive Attack in the 1990s.

Empired’s Inaugural School Hackathon with St George’s Anglican Grammar School and Rio Tinto
Second place team takes Empired’s ‘Most Innovative’ prize for their magnetic levitation train solution which aims to improve ore transportation by 14x. Photo courtesy of St. George’s Anglican Grammar School.

This event provided learning opportunities for students while strengthening the bonds between Rio Tinto and Empired staff. Stuart Strickland, Empired, General Manager WA acknowledges that, “Rio Tinto and Empired have a decade-long, trusted partnership, and it is fantastic to be able to build on this by partnering with St George’s on this exciting initiative”. Empired and Rio Tinto understand that in fostering a culture of innovation there must be a commitment to developing a pipeline of diverse graduates who wish to participate within the mining and IT sectors. In turn, the questions posed to students were focused on (1) workplace safety, (2) the future of mining, and (3) modern labour practices. Each topic directly impacts a broad suite of companies operating within the Western Australia community and shows the breadth of skills our industries requires to excel.

The overwhelming positive survey feedback from students, teachers and staff alike suggest the effectiveness of this experience. Here we are able to align our market and non-market strategies with the community by proactively managing our interactions with education, the public and media. The value of this experience for multinationals like Empired and Rio Tinto is that we are able to deliver local benefits – and publically communicate them – in the cities in which we operate. These efforts and the commitment of our three-way partnership go beyond the status quo of corporate thinking or practice.

With the successful collaboration and execution of Empired’s first School Hackathon we have the know-how to use School Hackathons as an effective tool. School Hackathons deliver local benefits and strengthen the networks within our operational cities. As an organiser and mentor it’s been an exciting and invaluable experience for me, giving me the opportunity to collaborate with senior executives and subject matter experts alike as we ‘hacked’ together this successful first event.

For additional articles on Empired’s School Hackathon please see the following.

Posted by: Callum Rideout, Business Analyst Enterprise Solutions | 09 October 2017

Tags: Hackathon, Rio Tinto, STEM

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