St Ursula’s students have earned the top spot at an invitational hackathon, demonstrating their exceptional ICT, coding, design and business management skills and earning themselves job interviews in the process!

Year 12 students, Shannon Callaghan and Rachael Downie, placed first at the 2022 Winning Group Fruition Hackathon, a two-day design workshop that invited students to produce tech-based solutions to workplace challenges.

The girls tackled a problem experienced by Winning Appliances: the company was fielding a high volume of enquiries from tradespeople regarding stock levels and responding to these required additional staff to carry out a number of administrative steps. In order to cut down on administrative processes, streamline accessibility and prioritise customer satisfaction, Shannon and Rachael, with the support of a mentor, designed an online portal for registered contractors that allows users to directly access the information they require and reduces the workload of administration staff by 60 per cent. 

Rachael said the design will now be put to good use.

“We’re so excited that our design will be integrated into the Winning Appliances website!” she said. 

“This is due to the effectiveness of the design principles that we considered: the aesthetics, usability and functionality.”

Shannon said their Business Services and ICT classes prepared them well for success at the event, where they competed against three other teams of high-performing students. 

“These two subjects give us a deep understanding of not only how business functions, but also of the technology behind the business that makes everything possible,” she said. 

“I most enjoyed being able to see the transformation of our idea, including doing market validation, to see our concept take shape and become something that can be implemented to help the system.”

Winning Group staff were impressed to hear about the game design work Shannon and Rachael are undertaking as part of their ICT course and offered to provide the girls ongoing mentoring in this area. Now, the girls are working with one of the organisation’s web developers to further enhance their coding skills. The students are also in the interview process for positions in the Winning Appliances call centre. 

St Ursula’s VET Coordinator and Pathways Coach, Mrs Amina Fisher, said taking part in the Fruition Hackathon was an invaluable experience for the girls, particularly as they were able to apply their cross-curricular learning.

“The event was a great opportunity for students to be involved in a real workplace, where they tackled real user problems in a business setting,” Mrs Fisher said.

“Their success speaks to their passion for innovation and lateral thinking; it also demonstrates the value of our VET courses and the skills they provide young people that help them succeed in real-world situations.”