Education teams honoured at Premier’s Awards

Two innovative NSW Education programs have been recognised as winners in this year’s NSW Premier’s Awards.

04 November 2021
A group of students at a desk brainstorming ideas with sticky notes
Image: Real-world learning: Students at Armidale Secondary College taking part in this year's Game Changer Challenge.

A program designed to improve educational outcomes of students and an initiative to develop skills in workers impacted by COVID-19 have won at this year’s NSW Premier’s Awards.

The Game Changer Challenge won in the Highest Quality Education category and the Development of Skilling for Recovery won in the A Strong Economy category.

The Game Changer Challenge is the department’s annual design-thinking initiative that promotes future-focused skills among students and teachers. Now in its fourth year, the challenge provides primary and secondary students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to solving a real-world ‘wicked’ problem, translating learning from the classroom into a real-life context.

In 2020 the team responded to COVID-19 restrictions by adapting the program from a face-to-face event to a model delivered entirely online.

The virtual delivery allowed greater participation from schools across NSW usually disadvantaged by distance, and has seen a greater focus on developing the skills of both students and teachers with the development of new resources and interactive activities.

The Game Changer Challenge has replicated last year’s efforts with the 2021 program currently under way with almost half of the eight virtual heats complete. Almost 400 submissions were received for this year’s challenge with 96 teams participating in the virtual heats.

The winner in A Strong Economy category was the development of Skilling for Recovery program which aimed to address impacts of COVID-19 on NSW workers and industries. The team designed and secured $318.6 million for initiatives to upskill, retrain, redeploy and employ displaced workers.

The program identified ‘pain points’ in displaced workers and established customer-centred navigation and advice, tracing ‘job corridors’ to ‘job opportunity’ occupations, unlocking connections between workers, skilling and employers needing skilled workers.

NSW Department of Education finalists in the Awards Aboriginal Learning and Engagement Centres; Outside School Hours Care Hubs; Time for Nature, Time for Nurture; Share our Space; and Stay Healthy HSC campaign.

The NSW Premier’s Awards celebrates excellence in the delivery of public services to the NSW community by the public sector, and not-for-profit organisations and private businesses in partnership with public sector agencies and departments.

See the full list of winners and finalists on the Premier’s Awards website.

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