St Paul’s Agribusiness students won big at the Waikato/King Country Youth Enterprise Scheme Regional Awards on Thursday 20 October with two teams taking out first and second placings in the Young Enterprise Scheme category.
Year 13 students, Ben McColgan, Hugh Jackson, Connor Gordon and Angus Kelly – otherwise known as ‘Crankworks’ – won the Foster Construction Innovation Award and the National Excellence Award for a product created in their Agribusiness class.
The device, the Crankholder, makes drilling fence post holes easier and safer by attaching the post hole borer to a trailer, quad bike or tractor.
They developed the idea after Hugh’s father noted his borer would jump when drilling holes and that he needed two people to keep it steady.
"He found it really taxing and said we should come up with a device to solve the problem. So, the four of us put our heads together and came up with the concept," said Hugh.
Ben says the boys were “stoked” to win first place, joking that they lucked out at the awards dinner.
“I think we got a good deal. We got to go to the awards, have a good dinner and win a prize at the end of it.”
All jokes aside, this isn’t the first time the boys have been recognised for their innovation. The team were first noticed at Fieldays Innovation Centre where they won the Young Innovator of the Year Award.
The team have since used their prize money to further develop their product and have just produced their fourth prototype.
Aneil Khatkar, Connor Steer and Carter Brydon (all Year 13) placed second to their classmates in the Foster Construction Innovation Award for their invention, Fell Safe.
The students noticed a significant amount of preventable deaths occurring in the forestry industry and felt they could address the problem.
Fell Safe is an app for a watch or FitBit that would alert the user to hazards and unsafe areas nearby. GPS technology would also enable site managers to monitor worker locations to minimise onsite risks and casualties.
Although they didn’t secure first place the Fell Safe team are more than satisfied with the runner up position.
“We thought we weren’t going to place because we were the only ones who didn’t have a product to sell so it was quite a shock” said Carter. “It was great to be runner up to another St Paul’s team.”