“An annual schools program powered by imagination”
Since 1991, the Energy Breakthrough program has provided opportunities for students, teachers, parents and local industry to work together to design and construct a vehicle, a machine or innovation in technology that will represent an ‘energy breakthrough’.
The Country Education Partnership initiated this exciting concept in 1991, and formed a strong partnership with the RACV and the Central Goldfield Shire Council (CGSC) to deliver the program over ensuing years. In 2018, the partnership changed, with CEP and the CGSC assuming joint-delivery of the program.
The Energy Breakthrough isn’t just a once-a-year event.
School groups work throughout the year to design, build and test pushcarts, pedal-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and crafty machines within detailed specifications. This requires a team effort and an across-the-curriculum approach. These groups then take their vehicles and machines to Maryborough, in Central Victoria, for a momentous Breakthrough Celebration, in which they each demonstrate and trial their creations.
The event is similar to the Australian HPV Super Series in South Australia and the Technology Challenge in Maryborough, Queensland.
The Energy Breakthrough program aims to:
- Provide an excellent technology project for students from Prep to VCE level;
- Encourage young people to explore solutions to environmental and transport issues;
- Provide opportunity for schools and communities to work and learn together;
- Provide opportunity for women and girls to participate in what has traditionally been a ‘male’ dominated area of curriculum;
- Be a fun program with real-world challenges;
- Offer students the opportunity to explore and address vehicle design, driving skills and vehicle and passenger safety issues.
So, how did it all begin?
The Energy Breakthrough all started in 1991, when the Country Education Partnership began to seek new ways to engage young, rural Victorians in a broader range of STEM-based challenges. A key feature of the program was – and remains – the annual ‘Celebration Event’ that is held in Maryborough, Victoria.
From humble beginnings with all of 23 entries in the first year, the program now attracts 350 teams of students from more than 150 schools, annually.
Energy Breakthrough has also grown to include a number of other ‘celebration events’ in metropolitan, regional and rural settings, including Bendigo, Wonthaggi, Casey, and Knox.