Volunteering, competitions and challenges
A great way to network and develop employability skills is volunteering and participating in student competitions and challenges. Graduate employers look for community involvement, initiative and innovation when recruiting new employees.
Benefits of competitions and challenges
Develop your teamwork, interdisciplinary collaboration, and project management skills while using your discipline specific knowledge to solve real life industry challenges. Employers look for risk takers and innovators and will be impressed to hear your stories about your initiative, problem solving and enterprising spirit whether or not you win the challenge.
There are many one-off challenges and competitions on the web - try and Google keywords relevant to your field e.g. student coding challenges, phone app competitions, student engineering challenges, student sustainability competitions etc.
Check all – choose the relevant ones to you; pencil in your calendar the registration dates; sign up for email updates; start thinking what you’d like to contribute and who you’d want to have on your team.
The dates listed are an indication only, please check the website to confirm.
Student competitions and challenges
Thought For Food Challenge; Entries January
Indigo Award (small registration fee); Submissions January
Ocean Innovation Challenge; Submissions January
Ideas for Action; Registrations February
Code Jam; Registrations March
Adobe Design Achievement Awards; Registrations March
UBS Investment Banking Challenge; Registrations March/April
James Dyson Award; Registrations March - July
AMP University Challenge; Entries April
The PEMA Student Challenge; Registrations April
ASHRAE Design Competition (HVAC); Registrations Early May
Go Green In The City; Registrations May
Australian Technologies Competition; Entries May
Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards; Entries May-June
Warman Design & Build Competition; Registrations June
Kokuyo Design Award Entries; June - August
ModelOff World Championships; Entries July
Angelhack Hackathon Challenges; Entries: July
Google Online Marketing Challenge; Entries July
Cyber Security Challenge Australia; Entries July
Top 100 Future Leaders Competition; Registrations August
Microsoft Imagine Cup; Registrations September
Singapore Airlines AppChallenge; Submissions September
GovHack; Entries September
Creative Shock; Registrations: September
Brand Storm Loreal; Registrations October
National Pharmacy Business Plan; Entries October
British Council's Famelab - science; Entries October/November
Australian Undergraduate Business Case Competition; Entries: November
KPMG International Case Competition (KICC); Entries November
EarthTech Challenge; Entries December
DrivenData - data science; Registrations - various
Grab CAD Challenge; Registrations – various
Innovation Challenge; Registrations – various
Kaggle - data science; Registrations - various
Thinkable Competitions; Registrations - various
Credit Suisse HOLT Valuation Challenge; Registrations - ongoing
JCU Writing Prize; check the website for closing dates
World Solar Challenge; check the website for registration dates
Australian Biomedical Engineering Innovation Awards; check the website for dates
A big list of Hackathons in Australia - updated weekly
Holt Community Competition; check the website for registration dates
Browse examples of challenges for established professionals:
Australian Engineering Excellence Awards;
If you are aware of a challenge or competition that is not listed here – please let us know! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits of volunteering
- Strengthen your employment skills – communication, teamwork, problem solving, planning
- Get work or industry related experience
- Develop your professional network and make new contacts
- Show initiative and motivation to employers
- Contribute to your community – giving is its own reward
- Support a cause you feel strongly about
What to consider when choosing volunteer activities
Think about what’s important to you in terms of the outcomes you are hoping to achieve through volunteer work. Identify the key activities you would like to undertake and the skills you would like to gain. When considering a volunteer opportunity, you may want to consider these questions:
- What sort of duties will I be expected to do?
- I don’t have any previous experience in this area. Does this matter?
- Will I receive any training?
- How much time will I be expected to give?
- I might not be able to offer any time around exam periods. Does this matter?
- If I am injured, will I be covered by insurance?
Volunteer at JCU
JCU offers a wide variety of volunteering opportunities for students and community members.
Opportunities cover everything from note-taking for students, to assisting our researchers.
Volunteer in your community
Volunteers are vital to many organisations, so consider lending a hand in your community. To find what is available in your area of interest and location, log in to Volunteering Australia
For opportunities in Cairns, contact FNQ Volunteers Inc
For opportunities in Townsville, contact Volunteering North Queensland
You might also like to contact one or more of the following volunteering organisations:
- Australian Red Cross
- CAFNEC (Cairns and Far North Environment Centre)
- Cairns Regional Council
- Cancer Council
- Centacare FNQ
- Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare
- Community Legal Centre Volunteers
- Conservation Volunteers
- Court Network
- CPL - Choice, Passion, Life
- Edward Koch Foundation (Cairns)
- Environmental Defenders Officer
- FNQ Hospital Foundation (Cairns)
- Food Rescue Initiative
- Greening Australia
- Indigenous Community Volunteers
- Mater Misericordiae Hospital (Townsville)
- North Queensland Conservation Council
- North Queensland Wildlife Care
- OrangeSky Australia
- PCYC (Police and Citizens Youth Club)
- Permacuture Townsville
- Pyjama Foundation
- Oz Harvest
- St John Ambulance
- Townsville Hospital Foundation
- TreeForce Cairns
- State Emergency Service
- Vinnies Refugee Assistance Program
- Vinnies Volunteers
- Vinnies Youth - Schools Program
- YAPS (Young Animal Protection Society)
Volunteering overseas can provide wonderful opportunities to immerse yourself in a different culture and really make a difference to a community or cause.
Undertaking any overseas role requires a considerable investment of time, energy and often money. Careful planning is required to ensure that you minimise any risks.
You should carefully research any organisation you are thinking of signing up with and remember to take into account any health and safety issues involved in living and working overseas.
Listed below are some organisations for you to research. Please note that JCU Careers and Employability does not endorse any aid organisations.