Fastrack successfully launched in 2007 in partnership with Deloitte’s National Innovation Program and continues to be a pioneering initiative today.
The program was born out of a vision to disrupt the way students learn and to prepare them with the core skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing economy. Now in its eleventh year, Fastrack has grown and evolved to become a world-class innovation program, impacting not only the lives and careers of students, but also industry and society at large, through developing innovative solutions to real-world problems.
The original experiment
Over ten years ago, a small group of students from RMIT’s Entrepreneurship Program became the first experimental cohort to experience high intensity immersion into industry, working on real innovation challenges with Deloitte.
The experiment was a resounding success. Students thrived and walked away completely transformed, with a new set of skills that landed many of them job offers - and industry was awed by the quality of talent and the fresh perspectives they offered in helping to solve complex problems and commercialise new opportunities.
For a number of years, Fastrack continued working with small Entrepreneurship cohorts in partnership with Deloitte’s Innovation Program, and then extended out to work with other partners including Kmart and Crimestoppers.
Over this time, more than 250 students went through the program, creating significant impact both in industry and in their careers. Over 75% of graduates indicated that employers directly hired them because of the skills and capabilities they developed in Fastrack*. Many also went on to work in start-ups and launch their own ventures.
*Survey data from 132 Fastrack graduates.
The beginnings of something different
In 2015, Fastrack tried something new. The cohort remained small but opened up to students from across the whole university. New partnerships were also born with a newly revised focus on social impact and innovation for positive change. Fastrack partnered with RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice, Victoria Legal Aid and the Federation of Community Legal Centres, with cross-disciplinary teams of students working on solutions to large-scale issues such as family violence and debt.
This change opened up entirely new opportunities, as everyone involved realised the impact that diverse talent could have in innovating solutions to some of the most complex systemic challenges (.
A new era of Fastrack is born
2016 marked the beginning of a new era for Fastrack. All of the program’s history and learnings were combined with new innovations to launch the next iteration of a world-class model for learning, impact and positive change.
Fastrack has now partnered with leading experts across innovation, design, business and technology to help co-design and deliver a new version of the program to students. Two programs are now also being delivered in parallel each year, with two different major partners.
Student intake has quadrupled and applications have opened up to students across the whole university at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. And four major events are delivered throughout the year involving students, staff and industry - a Soft Launch, two Pitch Nights and a final Awards Ceremony.
The changes have had a phenomenal impact, with CEO of Deloitte Centre for the Edge, Peter Williams – a Fastrack partner and judging panellist – commenting that the 2016 student pitches were “the best pitches I’ve seen in ten years!”.
This year, we can’t wait to deliver this new model of Fastrack again.
We’re also paving the way for something bigger – working on new partnerships and new initiatives for the future so that we can create more opportunities for students and have an even bigger impact on industry and society.
We look forward to meeting you and bringing you in to the Fastrack community.