Adelaide student wins business person of the year award

Wednesday, 5 December 2001

A first-year Engineering student at Adelaide University, Paul Caffin, was named National Tertiary Business Person of the Year at the Young Achievement Australia (YAA) awards in Sydney last night (Tues.).

Paul, 23, from Klemzig, won the award for his role as managing director of a student company that produced and sold rubber mats as part of the YAA Business Skills program. The twelve students involved in the company had only a single semester in which to research and establish their business, market and sell their product, and liquidate their company. The winning team sold its industrial rubber mats to garages and workshops and even diversified into smaller knee mats for gardeners.

At the South Australian YAA awards last month, the company scooped five awards - best business plan, best annual report, best environmental management, SA tertiary business person of the year, and company of the year. In Sydney, Paul had to make a presentation to chief executives of leading Australian companies and answer questions on the operation of the company.

Participation in the YAA program is part of the communication course that all first-year Mechanical/Mechatronic Engineering students undertake at Adelaide University.

Paul Caffin said students learned in their first semester that no engineering business could exist without effective communication skills.

"Business consists of dealing with people - customers, employees and suppliers - and making sure you maintain good relations with them," he said. "We have learned not only about the art of communicating but about business and entrepreneurial skills, too."

Course coordinator Joanne Pimlott said that a communication element had been incorporated into Engineering because of a recognition that good communication skills were essential for engineers.

"Adelaide is the only South Australian university that promotes the importance of communication in this way to Engineering students from the outset of their tertiary studies," she said.


Contact Details

Paul Caffin
Mobile: 0402 255 431

Joanne Pimlott
Director ECIC
Business: +61 8 8313 5442
Mobile: 0413 701 400

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762