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. View the below list of competitions and challenges to help get you started!

JCU Connect brings you the latest innovation opportunities offered across the ecosystem including incubators, accelerator programs and challenges. These opportunities are offered by a range of external stakeholders. Learn more about Innovation Incubators, Accelerators and Challenges.

If you would like to network with JCU's innovation community reach out to the JCU Connect Innovation Team.

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
Link: https://thoughtforfood.org/challenge

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

Ocean Innovation Challenge; Submissions January
Link: http://www.oceaninnovationchallenge.org/

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

Code Jam; Registrations March
Link: https://codingcompetitions.withgoogle.com/codejam

Ready Trader One (Optiver); Registrations March
Link: https://readytraderone.com.au/

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/

AMP University Challenge; Entries April 
Link: https://www.amp.com.au/unichallenge/home

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

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

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

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/

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

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/

Singapore Airlines AppChallenge; Submissions September 
Link: https://appchallenge.singaporeair.com/en/challenges/appchallenge-2019?lang=en

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

Go Green 2022; Registrations September 2021 - March 2022
Link: https://gogreen.se.com/en

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

Australian Undergraduate Business Case Competition; Entries: November
Link: AUBCC Facebook

EarthTech Challenge; Entries December
Link: https://earthtech.io/

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

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

Innovation Challenge; Registrations – various
Link: https://www.innovationchallenge.com/

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

World Solar Challenge; check the website for registration dates
Link:  https://www.worldsolarchallenge.org/

Australian Biomedical Engineering Innovation Awards; check the website for dates
Link: http://www.abeia.com.au/#/pages/awards

A big list of Hackathons in Australia - updated weekly
Link:  https://disruptorshandbook.com/big-list-hackathons/

Browse examples of challenges for established professionals:

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

  • 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

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?

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 and other students.

On-campus volunteer positions:

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.