The 2020 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies List, announced this afternoon, has recognised the work of Torrens University Australia in creating the country’s first Virtual Careers Expo for school leavers, following the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
The University was recognised as one of the Most Innovative Companies from more than 600 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand.
The AFR BOSS assessment measures a top innovation – specifically, how valuable the problem is that the innovation is solving, the quality and uniqueness of the solution, and the level of impact the innovation has had. In addition, internal elements of a company’s innovation culture, strategy, resources and process, which demonstrate a sustainable and repeatable approach to innovation, are assessed.
Recognition for Torrens University came from its development of the nation’s first ever Virtual Careers Expo, with COVID-19 prohibiting TAFE, VET and high school leavers from attending a traditional expo. Torrens University joined forces with other universities and higher education institutions to organise the two-day expo, involving 72 exhibitors, including 35 universities.
Held in May, the Virtual Careers Expo 2020 included chat rooms, live webinars, downloadable videos, campus tours and course guides in one location. The event resulted in over 310,000 visits to the site, with more than 60,000 webcast views and 30,212 file downloads. Without the Virtual Careers Expo, approximately 182,000 school leavers would not have been able to view 87.5% of Australian universities.
The demand for the Virtual Careers Expo platform led to the service being offered in New Zealand in June, where there were 42 exhibitors, 5,600 registrations and 2,300 webcast views.
Torrens University Australia President Linda Brown said Torrens University was honoured to be recognised in the 2020 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies List.
“The higher education sector is at a critical point in time where it must collaborate and use innovative approaches to expand access to education. We were pleased to successfully demonstrate the sector’s ability to do just that, through the fantastic outcomes of the virtual careers expo. And we are very grateful to be recognised for this innovation, which we could not have delivered without the support and collaboration of others,” Linda said.
“Committing to our values as a B Corporation, whereby we work to create a positive impact on our students, our employees and society more broadly, requires innovation, and we have remained steadfast in this approach as we’ve addressed the challenges of the pandemic.
“Since April, we have delivered more than 16,200 free online short courses to the public – assisting those who have been laid off or stood down as a result of COVID-19 to upskill, refine their industry knowledge and become more work-ready. This contribution by Torrens University equates to over $2.25 million worth of learning,” Linda said.
In more innovation to be delivered by Torrens University, later this month it will run, in partnership with Beyond Blue a free, online short course that will give insight into the day-to-day lived experiences of the 3 million Australians with depression, and the family and friends who support them. Commencing on Monday 26 October 2020, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will be delivered by the University’s lecturers, alongside content created by people with a lived experience of depression, including representatives from Beyond Blue. The course aims to enhance people’s understanding of depression, during a period when the nation’s mental health crisis is deepening.
This free online course follows the success of other MOOCs offered by Torrens University in the last two years, which have focused on autism and social entrepreneurship.
About the 2020 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies List
Published by The Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, the Most Innovative Companies List is the only national list of its kind and is based on a rigorous assessment process managed by innovation consultancy, Inventium, in conjunction with a panel of industry expert judges. In 2020, the list comprised of 10 industry categories, compiled from over 600 nominations. The list (previously the BRW Most Innovative Companies list) is now in its ninth year.