What is the Spark Engineering Camp?

The ‘Spark’ Engineering Camp is a Youth Without Borders initiative, bringing together a variety of stakeholders to provide Grade 10-12 students with a life changing opportunity to see what the university experience, particularly engineering, can provide.

Over two week-long camps in Brisbane and Melbourne, students who are nominated by their teachers, parents or peers, get the opportunity to gain an insight into where their life will lead should they be ‘sparked’ towards pursuing tertiary education. The camp is focused towards indigenous, refugee and financially or otherwise disadvantaged students and is fully funded – there is no cost for students to attend.

Students will participate in a series of engaging workshops and excursions to learn about the various fields of engineering and other technical disciplines, complemented by a vast professional development and numerous social activities, to provide them with a well-rounded experience they will remember for years to come. In particular, the engineering workshops are designed to give students an appreciation of both the breadth of engineering and the role engineers play in society, piquing their personal and diverse interests. Further education such as university courses may be unfamiliar or foreign to the students and Spark aims to give them some understanding about what future study could be like.

As well as developing a newfound sense of what their future could have in store, the students are also equipped with the skills for realistically achieving these goals. Students will actively participate in numerous team building activities (some, but not all, with an engineering focus), as well as fostering a previously undiscovered sense of self through personal development exercises. They will learn that an engineering or technical based career is not a distant dream, but in fact a very real possibility, and will be given the inspiration to set challenging and exciting goals, as well as practical ways of achieving them. Lastly, the students engage in social and team-building activities, fostering strong relationships with their peers and mentors and immensely enriching the enjoyment level of the camp.

The camp is entirely run by university student mentors, from a broad range of backgrounds and study disciplines, who encourage the students to unlock their potential and throw themselves wholeheartedly into the week’s activities. Both the mentors and students will stay on college at the camp, giving students, many of whom are rural, a small appreciation of college life.

Spark 2016

Applications will soon open for the Organising Committee for Spark Engineering Camp 2016!

This will be the fifth year Spark Engineering Camp has run, offering students in grades 10, 11 and 12 a chance to check out what engineering and university have to offer. Over the last five years, Spark has received fantastic feedback from students, Youth Without Borders mentors and corporate sponsors alike.

It is a week-long residential camp for approximately 60 students with a full-on schedule and many ‘hands-on’ engineering activities. Specifically, the camp is targeted to students who might not normally have considered university due to geographic, financial or other obstacles.

To this end, all student costs are covered by the camp and students from regional Queensland and further afield are provided full travel scholarships. We need applicants from all backgrounds to fill the various positions on the Spark 2013 Organising Committee.

A team of experienced and new staff will be assembled in order to plan the camp from start to finish: securing sponsorship, media releases, student recruitment, planning and booking activities, transport and accommodation throughout the week.

If you’d like to be involved, please apply at: www.spark.ywb.com.au

For students

Do you or does someone you know need a ‘Spark’?

Maybe you are from a regional area and can’t travel to a university very easily? Maybe you are from a minority group? Or a community that doesn’t see many people go to university? Maybe you have considered university and engineering before? .. or maybe not. If you would like to experience what engineering has to offer, then Spark is for you!

Spark Engineering Camp offers an opportunity to grade 10, 11 and 12 students who might not otherwise have considered going to university, or might not have had a chance to see what engineering is about. To this end, all student costs are covered by the camp and students from regional Queensland and further afield are offered transport to and from the camp at no personal cost.

Spark is a week-long residential camp held in both Brisbane and Melbourne in the June / July holidays. Previously the program has included workshops from Engineers Without Borders, CSIRO, Robogals, and the UQ Race Team, and numerous other educational, team-building and personal development activities. “Sparkies” will get a sense of university life whilst learning about engineering through many hands-on activities in a fun environment.

This ‘Spark’ will light up new opportunities and help to each student to realise their potential.
Visit the Spark website at sparkengineeringcamp.ywb.com.au for more information.

For Mentors

So, you’re interested in being a Spark Mentor? Fantastic.

Spark Mentors are the foundation of the success of the camp. While the activities the students are involved in have outstanding professional and academic outcomes, the main benefit to the students comes through the personal link between them and their mentors. Mentors take the role of tour guide, peer and friend, ensuring students get the most benefit out of Spark.

It is crucial to point out that mentors need not be engineers. The Spark Mentoring team is selected based on diversity and personal experience, which inherently requires students from other disciplines to give the Sparkies the best possible experience.

Also, while being a Spark Mentor is both incredibly personally rewarding and fun, (getting to engage in each of the activities WITH the students) there is a significant time commitment involved. If you’re still interested, head straight on over to our website: sparkengineeringcamp.ywb.com.au

If you have any further questions, feel free to email staff@spark.ywb.com.au