During the Summer Holidays two students, Year 12 Peter (Ely) Skeen and Year 11 Tiarnee Lester had the opportunity to participate in Katitjiny Boya Birrit National Indigenous Business Summer School (WA) held at UWA from the 20-24 January.

They worked in groups with students from across the state on a major project to come up with an idea that could improve the visitor experience at Optus Stadium and incorporate indigenous culture into the venue.

As well as working on their group project the students, who were staying at the University of Western Australia’s on-campus accommodation, got a taste of life as a university student and even squeezed in a cricket game at the WACA.

The teams participated in workshops and seminars with respected indigenous leaders and community members including David Wirrapunda and Dr Richard Walley, honing their ideas before they presented their pitches on video to the judges and to guests at a conference held at Optus Stadium.

“At the start I didn’t want to go, but once I was there I really enjoyed it and even met up with some friends from my old school in Karratha, plus I made some new ones.

“We weren’t sure our idea was any good to start off with, but we had a great group and everyone worked very well together,” Ely said.

Ely’s team came up with the winning idea dubbed Whadjuk Eats, an in-seat food and beverage delivery service for spectators, with Optus Stadium corporate staff hinting they may even put the idea into practice.

The winning team nabbed an all-expenses paid 7-day trip to New York City to attend a global ingenuous youth conference and take in the sights including a basketball game at world famous Madison Square Gardens. The trip was scheduled for the end of March but unfortunately has since been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with organisers hopeful it can be rescheduled for later in the year.

Tiarnee’s team came up with a Virtual Reality/History application called Aliwah (meaning look here) Tours which scans indigenous artwork on the floor and walls of Optus Stadium and brings up information on the relevant dreamtime story the artwork is based on.

“I loved it and even want to go again next year, there were lots of potential job opportunities, and even one of the people I was speaking to at the conference who was from Chevron told me to email her about future traineeships,” Tiarnee said.