E³UDRES² Hackathon 2024: Creating a Talent Portal

65 students, 15 mentors and 5 challengers participated in the third E³UDRES² Hackathon hosted at UC Leuven-Limburg UAS (UCLL), Belgium. They only had 36 hours of hacking to transform recruitment and make sure future talents can find their match on the job market. On 8 February, the E³UDRES² team welcomed the participating international students, mentors and challengers on the premises of UC-Leuven. Roger Heijmans, UCLL-project co-lead, introduced the group into the world of recruitment and the problems that arise as society evolves. Subsequently, mentors Sylviane Vroonen and Werner Leunen briefly explained the kind of support the mentors team provided during the Hackathon. After Danique van den Bergh (UCLL) announced the eight carefully composed teams, and Jan Kriekels (CEO of JAGA) provided additional input through an inspirational talk, the teams dived into their challenge: What should the recruitment market look like for generation Z?

36 Hours, countless ideas

In the next 12 hours, the participants aimed for the moon in generating ideas. Of course, the programme offered some tools to work with: A first workshop by Sebastiaan Jans handled the mastering of ChatGPT, how to efficiently use generative AI by smart prompting. The second one showcased the art of pitching, by Barbara Kok. Next to the workshops, the teams only took breaks to grab a bite - it was impressive to see how purpose-driven the students were. Interesting fact: E³UDRES² consist of 9 partnering universities, but the Hackathon welcomed 20 nationalities! Participants with backgrounds from Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Cameroon, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Vietnam were taking part in the event.

Students enjoying a well-deserved snack during the Hackathon.

Working through the night

At 10 PM (!) it was pitching time: All eight teams presented their ideas. Some were very inspirational, others funny or creative. But above all, they all showed potential. After voting for the most interesting one, all students would be working on that same idea. The teams were reshuffled into new teams: 3 coding teams, 2 marketeer teams and 3 business plan teams. At this point, things got a bit more serious: A huge task was ahead of them, containing the creation of a marketing plan, working out a viable business plan and creating a working prototype.

During the darkest hours of the night, the students stood strong. Power napping and energy foods and a huge drive to deliver at the end made sure that they kept on going. A city walk at 6 AM and breakfast at 6:30 and they were good to keep on going. 3 PM on Friday was their ultimate deadline to deliver their Talent Portal prototype. Despite the lack of sleep, they made a last effort to boost their results. The organizing team was amazed by the amount of work the students did in only 36 hours, and even more amazed by their resilience and drive to make this hackathon a success. They proudly presented their work to the coaches and challengers.

After intense 36 hours, they were tired and definitely deserved a moment to relax. How else could they finish this intense 2 days of non-stop going strong, other than a nice moment together and a mocktail to finish it off? After a wonderful Hackathon, the E³UDRES² community had once again grown - 80 new "citizens" received their E³UDRES² passports.


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