Brian has blown us away with his commitment to inspire tamariki through Inspiring the Future Aotearoa. He signed up to be a volunteer role model to tamariki to share his experiences as an Electronics Engineer and tell his story to help broaden career horizons for young people, and to show them that they can follow their dreams.

Inspiring the Future is a programme where young people hear from volunteer role models in their communities, learn about different jobs and why people love doing them, as well as their pathway and challenges they faced along the way. This is done through fun events at schools.

Brian has accepted invites to every event he is available for. He has inspired students from multiple schools, answering questions about his job and showing them that it’s really fun to design technology that helps us all.

Here’s his story in his own words:

Tēnā koutou katoa

I’m Brian. When you meet me you’ll hear that I have a strange accent. That’s because I was not born here. I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. I moved to New Zealand six years ago, and I’m now settled here. I have a house, a car, and a great job. I play badminton at two different clubs and sometimes privately with friends too. I love travelling, and have visited most of New Zealand already with a group of friends who do things together.

I work as an electronics engineer, and my current role is to design technology for farmers to help them to produce our food. The most exciting part of my job is seeing the funky things I design being made in the factory and sold to the farmers! I enjoy studying how to use some of those tiny little electronics things, and designing those green PCBs (printed circuit boards) that use them, and then testing my design to check that it really does what it should.

Sometimes my design is naughty, and it does some unexpected things, and then we all make jokes about the naughty design, and then I figure out what went wrong, and I fix that. It’s great fun! I already knew that I wanted to be either an electronics engineer (or maybe a pilot) when I was in year 5. But most children have no idea what they want to do. I volunteered at an orphanage for many years, and some of the students I looked after there didn’t know what they wanted to do even at the end of high school.

I joined Inspiring the Future for two reasons. One is that I love working with children, and the other is that I can help you think of other jobs that you may not have thought of, and show you that it’s really fun to design technology that helps us all. The best part of the Inspiring the Future events for me is seeing the students’ eyes light up when I show them the physical PCBs that I have designed. They are genuinely very curious, and they listen intently when I describe my job, and they ask many questions. It is truly wonderful to see such a huge awakening when they realise that this sort of job appears in the most unlikely of industries such as health care, pet care, agriculture, transport, appliances, and so on.

Of course, there are always challenges in life. I struggled a lot with my school and uni studies, because I thought that I was not clever enough. School was hard for me, but I worked hard because I really wanted to design technology, and I discovered that actually I am clever enough to do that! And look, now that’s what I do, and what I enjoy doing! Cool, hey!