Volunteering, competitions and challenges

A great way to network and develop workplace skills is volunteering and participating in student competitions and challenges.  Graduate employers look for community involvement, initiative and a track record of 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 solving 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.

Review all the competitions below as most of them require interdisciplinary team work.

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
Link: https://thoughtforfood.org/challenge

Indigo Award (small registration fee); Submissions January
Link: https://www.indigoaward.com/categories/

Ideas for Action; Registrations February
Link: http://www.ideas4action.org/

Code Jam; Registrations March
Link: https://code.google.com/codejam/

Adobe Design Achievement Awards; Registrations March
Link: https://www.adobeawards.com/competition

UBS Investment Banking Challenge; Registrations March/April
Link: https://www.ubs.com/microsites/ubs-investment-banking-challenge/en/process-and-dates.html

James Dyson Award; Registrations March - July
Link: https://www.jamesdysonaward.org/

The PEMA Student Challenge; Registrations April
Link: http://pema.org/pema-events/pema-student-challenge/

ASHRAE Design Competition (HVAC); Registrations Early May
Link: https://www.ashrae.org/communities/student-zone/competitions

Go Green In The City; Registrations May 
Link: https://www.gogreeninthecity.com/index.html

Australian Technologies Competition; Entries May
Link: http://www.austechcomp.com/

EY Data Science Challenge Registrations; Entries May
Link: https://www.ey.com/au/en/careers/students/ey-data-science-challenge

UX World Championship; Registrations May
Link: https://worldusabilitycongress.com/competitions/

Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards; Entries May-June
Link: https://youngentrepreneursawards.unilever.com

Warman Design & Build Competition; Registrations June
Link: https://warmandesignandbuild.org.au/

Kokuyo Design Award Entries; June - August
Link: https://www.kokuyo.com/en/award/

ModelOff World Championships; Entries July
Link: https://www.modeloff.com/

Angelhack Hackathon Challenges; Entries: July
Link: https://angelhack.com/global-hackathon-series/#events

Google Online Marketing Challenge; Entries July
Link: https://get.google.com/onlinechallenge/

Cyber Security Challenge Australia; Entries July
Link: https://cyberchallenge.com.au/

EY Survive the Panel; Entries early August - September
Link: https://www.ey.com/au/en/careers/students/ey-survive-the-panel

Top 100 Future Leaders Competition; Registrations August
Link: https://top100grademployers.com.au/future-leaders/

Microsoft Imagine Cup; Registrations September
Link https://imaginecup.microsoft.com/en-us/

Shell Ideas 360; Registrations September
Link: http://www.shellideas360.com/about-the-competition/

Singapore Airlines AppChallenge; Submissions September 
Link: https://appchallenge.singaporeair.com/en/challenges/appchallenge-2018?lang=en

GovHack; Entries September
Link: https://www.govhack.org/

Creative Shock; Registrations: September
Link: http://creativeshock.lt/

Brand Storm Loreal; Registrations October
Link: https://brandstorm.loreal.com/en/challenges/landing

National Pharmacy Business Plan; Entries October
Link: https://www.guild.org.au/news-events/guild-awards/national-student-business-plan-competition

British Council's Famelab - science; Entries October/November
Link:  https://www.britishcouncil.org.au/famelab

Australian Undergraduate Business Case Competition; Entries: November
Link: https://www.aubcc.com/

KPMG International Case Competition (KICC); Entries November;
Link: https://home.kpmg.com/xx/en/home/careers/graduates/kpmg-international-case-competition.html

Grab CAD Challenge; Registrations – various
Link: https://grabcad.com/challenges/active

DrivenData - data science; Registrations - various
Link:  https://www.drivendata.org/competitions

Kaggle - data science; Registrations - various
Link: https://www.kaggle.com/challenge-yourself

Data Science Challenges; Registrations - various
Link: https://www.datasciencechallenge.org/

Credit Suisse HOLT Valuation Challenge Registrations; ongoing
Link: https://www.holtvaluationchallenge.com/

Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge (Biannual, every odd year); Registrations: contact the organiser ASAP
Link: https://www.sustainabilitymbachallenge.com/

To identify further opportunities go to https://studentcompetitions.com/competitions

Browse examples of challenges for established professionals:

Innocentive;
Link: https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/browse

Nine Sigma;
Link: https://ninesights.ninesigma.com/contests

Australian Engineering Excellence Awards;
Link: http://aeea.engineersaustralia.org.au/

If you are aware of a challenge or competition that is not listed here – please let us know! Email: careers@jcu.edu.au

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:

Volunteer overseas

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 Employment does not endorse any aid organisations.