Cadetship to Career: Flinders Student Pursues Design Pathways

Matthew Flinders Anglican College Year 11 student, Jess Reilly has begun Peregian Digital Hub’s design cadetship alongside some of the Sunshine Coast’s top talent. 

Equivalent to a first-year university level, the program aims to inspire ‘cadets’ to learn hands-on skills taught by experts. 

Students participate in classes and workshops, and get to demonstrate their skills by working on creatively-challenging projects.

Jess said she and her classmates were encouraged to apply for the cadetship by her teacher, Flinders Head of Design and Technologies, Mrs Natalle Sutton.

“I was really interested in extending my skills in graphic design and Mrs Sutton encouraged me to apply,” Jess said.

“I am most looking forward to working with real life clients and collaborating with other like-minded designers, sharing our ideas and learning from each other’s points of view.” 

Excited at the opportunity to deliver professional-level work, Jess hopes to carry what she learns in the program into the classroom.

“The cadetship program will allow me to further develop creative solutions, which I’ll then be able to utilise in my studies,” Jess said.

“What I love about studying Design at Flinders is that it welcomes different perspectives, emphasising the importance of approaching problems with an open mind,” she said.

Jess commenced the cadetship in early July, 2022 and anticipates to complete the program by November. 

Cadetship For Top Talent

Over the years, many Flinderians have been involved in programs at the Peregian Digital Hub, including current student, Ben Szabo-Virag.

“My love of mathematics and artificial intelligence led me to connect with the Digital Hub in 2019, before the cadet programs had begun, as I wanted to find interesting ways to keep building my skills in this space,” Ben said. 

“I designed an algorithm to automate the counting of cells for a local biotechnology company, which allowed me to activate my learning, and was then invited to be part of the first AI cadetship program in 2020 as a teacher, while I was in Grade 9,” he said. 

“Being connected with the Digital Hub community, including their network of coders and tech companies, is the biggest benefit to me personally, and has given me the opportunity to further my skills whilst teaching coding courses to current cadets.” 

The Design Cadetship revolves around a series of creative assignments in which cadets receive a client brief and must answer to that brief by producing a digital artefact. 

Cadets receive professional exposure through work experience placements with Peregian Digital Hub partners.

The program provides non-linear learning for students with a natural flair for visual art, helping them progress along the exciting vocational pathway that is digital design.

Flinders Design Thinking 

The Flinders Design and Technologies Department teaches students from Years 7 to 12 crucial 21st century skills so they can grapple with complex problems that require creative solutions.

Students across the College are working on a range of projects, from transforming old bicycles into innovative playground designs in Year 10 to designing commercial products, services and environments in Year 11 and reimagining the designs of single or limited use products, services and environments with the goal of improving their economic, social and ecological sustainability in Year 12. 

In addition to the Design and Technologies in-classroom curriculum, students at the College have the opportunity to explore their design skills through the Flinders Innovation Club.

Head of Design and Technologies, Mrs Natalle Sutton said the Flinders Innovation Club has been offered for more than two years as part of the College’s extensive Co-curricular Program.

“We want to encourage our students to explore projects that matter to them and challenge them to work through the design thinking cycle to achieve an outcome,” Natalle said.

“Students are having a lot of fun while also developing valuable study, career and life skills such as collaboration, teamwork, empathy, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.”

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