It’s that time of year again, at Jisc we’ve launched our annual Summer of Student Innovation competition. In its 4th year, the competition asks learners to come up with solutions to improve learning, teaching and research through technology. This year we have two competitions, the student ideas competition that’s aimed at teams with new ideas with £5,000 of funding up for grabs, and the supporting technology start-ups competition where entrants could win a huge £20,000 of funding.

With the world of technology ever-evolving, who better to create and develop technological solutions and ideas for education than those on the ground, the students themselves? With up to thousands of projects live on funding website Kickstarter at any one time-it’s clear that the trend for entrepreneurship is ever growing. We want to hear from entrepreneurs who are ready to develop new and exciting products that meet the needs of universities, colleges and learning providers.

Winners will not only benefit from funding and support, but also from getting a real taste of life in the cutting edge world of technology start-ups, helping to develop employability skills like planning, pitching, design and management. There’s also the benefit of raising the profile of your institution, as well as your own profile and social enterprise reputation.

What have others done?

Two winning teams from the 2015 Summer of Student Innovation competition, a team of apprentice electricians from Yoevil College and a group of learning technology apprentices from Sparsholt College, came up with designs for an app to support learners to find apprenticeships and link with employers.

Apprentices and employers face a number of challenges when trying to find the right match. It’s difficult for employers to search for people with the right skills and for apprentices to find suitable employers that will give them the experience they want. As a result, many apprenticeships fail. The app aims to connect apprentices with employers, allowing both to set up multimedia public profiles and search for the other using a tailored search facility. Both can watch for updates to specific user’s profiles, which appear as notifications, allowing suitable users to connect and get to know their potential partner. Employers and prospective apprentices will ultimately be able to contact each other directly through the app, which will be available on iOS and android.

How to enter

All you need to do is find a team to work with, create a video pitch and upload it to Elevator by Monday 23 May 2016. You’ll need 250 votes to get through to the next stage. You could be a winner and see your idea become a valuable product that helps to make the future of learning better for learners in higher education, further education and skills. Good luck!

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Join the conversation on Twitter with #studentideas.

Paul Bailey, senior co-design manager, Jisc

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