5 ways registering for the National Questacon Invention Convention will kickstart your career as an inventor

National Invention Convention
Kickstart your STEM career and make friends for life!

Dream of solving the world’s problems with your awesome ideas? Start here.

Each January, a group of 25 stoked high school students from all over Australia take part in the National Invention Convention in Canberra to spend five days working on their own inventions. The all-expenses-paid workshop gives people with big ideas the opportunity to design and develop a prototype that relates to a chosen theme – working alongside a host of inspiring mentors and other like-minded STEM heads. With registrations open now for next year, here are five reasons why applying could score you some invaluable career cred.

1. It’ll give you a taste of a day-in-the-life as a developer

On day one of the five-day workshop you’ll be tasked with a real-life scenario and problem, where you’ll be challenged to invent the solution (quite literally). By developing your own prototype – from idea-stage to finish – you’ll get to see what it’s like to engineer a real-life project with a team. Hard work? Yes. Loads of fun? Also yes. By the end of it you should have a better understanding of what’s involved in product development gigs, and whether they’re for you.

2. You’ll learn to work – and play – with others

Group projects can be tough, but they’re also loads of fun and a realistic reflection of what life in the workforce is really like. At the National Invention Convention you’ll be given five days to come up with a game-changing product either as a group or on your own. If working with others you’ll need to communicate effectively but the best bit is celebrating together once it’s all done.

3. It’s an amazing opportunity to make industry connections

The five-day workshop isn’t a 120-hour work-a-thon. There’ll be times to chat not just with the other students, but with the mentors and entrepreneurs leading the sessions too. They’re there as extra resources – and you should use them! Seek advice for your project and take the opportunity to quiz them on their professional backgrounds and how they landed their awesome gigs. You never know – you might make an awesome contact with a killer job who makes a serious impact on your future career pathway!

4. You can pop it on your resume

OK, so it’s not technically a ‘job’ but attending the National Invention Convention is a huge achievement and something that you – and a future employer – should be super proud of. Smashing five days of product development while still in high school? That’s serious work experience right there.

5. It’s a unique way to up-skill

Heading to Canberra on an all-expenses-paid trip to invent stuff with a group of fellow STEM-lovers is seriously once-in-a-lifetime! You don’t need to have a stack of prerequisite skills either – you’ll be taught everything once you get there. Jobs should be fun – not just hard work – and jumping on every opportunity to grow your STEM smarts in an inspiring, creative out-of-the-box way is a total win!

The National Questacon Invention Convention is happening January 2020 in Canberra and is supported by The Ian Potter Foundation. Apply here

Still wondering if you should register? Read about the experiences of two ex-participants here.

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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