Community transformation and creativity at the 2018 Great Ydeas Innovation Breakfast

8 May 2018

Jessica Abramovic

Jessica is the Communications and Events Coordinator at YWCA Canberra.

On Wednesday 2 May we hosted 120 people at QT Hotel for the 2018 Great Ydeas Innovation Breakfast. The Breakfast not only marks World YWCA Day, but also sees the announcement of the Great Ydeas Small Grants program recipients, and fundraises for the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse; a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) program for young people the Tuggeranong area.

This year’s breakfast was commenced by Ngunnawal Elder, Aunty Violet, who delivered a Welcome to Country. Aunty Violet asked us to think about how the world will look in the future and the work environment young people will be entering. She said we must allow young people to follow their dreams, and support them to do so, regardless of their age, gender, or socio-economic status.

YWCA Canberra Executive Director, Frances Crimmins, then officially opened the Breakfast, talking about the importance of providing young people with skills in STEAM, and outlining how YWCA Canberra is supporting this through the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse.

“The [YWCA Canberra Clubhouse] exists to deliver better socio-economic outcomes for the Tuggeranong community and better STEAM employment outcomes for women and young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally diverse backgrounds. We’re proud to support World YWCA strategic goals of the empowerment of young women and girls to have educational, vocational, and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – otherwise known as ‘STEAM’.

“We know that girls, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are underrepresented in the STEM workforce, are more likely to have negative perceptions of STEM disciplines and are less likely to aspire to STEM careers, and we want to address this.”

“Through France’s enlightening speech, we all became aware of the need to act now to secure STEAM opportunities for young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Our vision is to bridge the digital divide in Canberra.

“There is growing recognition of the pressing need for our young people to be provided with a fit for purpose twenty first century education in the STEAM field.

“The Education Council’s recent report on optimising STEM Industry-School partnerships revealed that participation in challenging STEM subjects has declined up to ten percentage points in the past two decades.

“Even more troubling is that fewer students from disadvantaged backgrounds are classified as high performers in the STEM area compared to a decade ago. In a recently released report by the Foundation for Young Australians, it was noted that the future working world for a fifteen-year-old today will be vastly different from what most of us in this room have experienced.

“Over the next 10-15 years, 40 per cent of jobs are at risk of disruption due to technology advancements. Jobs like accounting, cashiers, and administration roles will be the most impacted. In fact, 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations in Australia require skills in STEAM. And unless we increase the capacity of young people in STEAM now, they will be left behind.”

YWCA Canberra is excited to announce that through everyone’s generosity, we raised over $1,200 in donations, which includes funds raised from a silent auction of an incredible quilt by YWCA Canberra’s Treasurer and Life Member, Betty Ferguson.

Following France’s speech, we heard from our keynote speaker, Olympia Yarger. Olympia is the Founder and CEO of insect farm Goterra, a founding Director of the Insect Protein Association of Australia and an advocate and motivational speaker for families who care for wounded veterans.

Olympia shared her personal journey with us, discussing the profound loss she experienced when she lost her son, and the experiences she faced as a wife of an American soldier who joined the army after 9/11.

Born and raised in Canberra from a family of farmers, Olympia also has a long history of investing in communities. Upon returning to Australia after years in America, Olympia turned back to her passion of agriculture and started her Agtech startup Goterra.

This year she was a finalist in the Rural Woman of the Year NSW ACT for her project to educate communities about the potential to bring industry together to utilise waste through insect farming.

Following Olympia, we heard from Hayley Teasdale, a 2017 Great Ydeas grant winner, and UC PhD student. Hayley shared her experience as woman in STEAM studying a PhD at UC, and the importance of providing young people having the opportunity to build STEAM skills and prepare for jobs of the future.

Hayley also discussed what she used her 2017 Great Ydeas grant for, and why these grants are so important. With the grant funding, Hayley could realise her idea of assisting people with Parkinson’s who struggle with mobility issues and developed Buzz Balance Ball. She developed a prototype after researching new ways of improving mobility, and proudly explained the many lives she has now helped through her innovate technology.

Following Hayley’s speech, YWCA Canberra President, Jude Burger, announced the 2018 Great Ydeas recipients.

Now in its eighth year, the Great Ydeas Small Grants program has supported 54 Canberra women to pursue a professional development opportunity, pilot a project, kick-start a business idea, or address a need in the community.

We are thrilled to announce that the following women were successful in securing a 2018 Great Ydeas Small Grant to make a meaningful impact in the Canberra community:

  • Hayley Teasdale, for her project Buzz Balance Ball, supported by the 2018 CBRIN Great Ydeas Innovate Grant
  • Fiona Hooton, for her project Lakeside Stories Pilot Project, supported by the 2018 EY Great Ydeas Creativity Grant
  • Alexandra Green, for her project ANU Women in Leadership – Skills for the Future workshops, supported by the 2018 Microsoft Great Ydeas STEAM Grant
  • Caitlin Figueiredo, for her project Jasiri Trailblazer Fellowship
  • Sita Sargeant and Jazmeen Payne, for their project Change the Frame
  • Yasmine Gray, for her project GetAboutAble
  • Julia Faragher, for her project From Amateur to Artist

Read more about these incredible grants on Great Ydeas.

Thank you again to everyone who attended the 2018 Great Ydeas Innovation Breakfast and donated to support the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse. You can relive this fabulous event by checking out our Flickr album.

If you would like to continue supporting the Clubhouse, you can make a donation or become a mentor.

  • $50 will send a YWCA Canberra Clubhouse member on a personal development-style excursion, such as International Women’s Day at Big Day In
  • $150 will sponsor the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse for a day
  • $250 will sponsor a day-long Clubhouse STEAM focused workshop
  • $500 will support out school holiday program to resources and activities for one week
  • $1000 will support the resources for a term project in a school for up to 10 young people
  • $3000 will help us send a YWCA Canberra Clubhouse member to the international Clubhouse teen summit in Boston, USA

Finally, YWCA Canberra thanks our 2018 Great Ydeas partners, CBRIN, EY and Microsoft, who generously provided three young women with the opportunity to realise their dreams through grant funding.


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