The collaboration between Western Chances and Spark Engineering Camp enables students to explore their engineering interests in an encouraging and supportive environment, to help them decide on future study and career pathways.
Spark Engineering Camp is a not for profit, Youth Without Borders initiative that provides an opportunity for high school students in years 10 to 12 to experience university life. During the week-long program, the students stay on university grounds at a residential college, with activities planned throughout the city.
Gain insider knowledge on engineering pathways
For young people who are thinking about what to do after high school, it’s a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into tertiary study options. Students who attend Spark get involved in a variety of activities, ranging from hands-on engineering projects through to inspiring talks from students and industry leaders.
Western Chances scholarship recipient, Charlie, felt better informed about his career choices after attending the camp:
“I learnt what it takes to become an engineer, all the courses I should take and can take, all the companies out there and how they became successful. I learnt how important it is to do the things you like and never ever give up.”
Projects keep students engaged, forgetting their nerves
Student mentors know all too well the challenge of diving into a new environment, and finding new peer groups. The Spark team makes the newcomers feel welcome and run lots of engaging group activities. All nerves are forgotten when the camp participants get stuck into the engineering projects. While exploring their passions and embracing new challenges, the shared experience builds strong bonds amongst like-minded students.
“My favourite activity was all the building and constructing, especially with the wave simulator. I was in awe when I saw the wave simulator, and when they told us to build something to withstand the wave, I was over the moon. In addition, I probably enjoyed the building projects because my group won most of them, besides the bridge making. Even though our one looked like a proper bridge.”
Helping students develop their talents
The camp welcomes talented students who are curious about where an engineering career could lead. Whether they have started to engage in science and engineering subjects, or would just love to try them out, the hope is that students leave the program inspired and empowered to pursue further study.
Indeed, some participants go on to become volunteer mentors on the program, handing on their knowledge and drive to succeed in the engineering field. Scholarship recipient Selena gained so much from her participation in 2014, she now volunteers at the camps as an Operations Manager and mentor.
“Spark has become a part of my life and I would like to continue working with it to make positive impacts on young people.” Read more about her experience here.
Charlie uncovered new potential during the camp: “Overall, I grew and learnt so much from this experience. I am so grateful. I could not imagine leaving, I really could not. The week I spent at Spark was the most fun I had ever had. I walked in with keen ambitions in developing as a professional and I walked out knowing a lot about all the opportunities out there.”
With the incredible support from our Western Chances Links Program partners and the Spark volunteers, we are fortunate to be able to offer scholarship recipients free places at Spark Engineering Camp. Participating students have proven time and again that this investment in their future is well worth it.
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