The Brunel Foundation believes in enthusing future generations. We aim to inspire them in their potential career choices, create awareness of the environment and help them unlock talents to their fullest potential.
Over the past 10 years, a number of children have helped us as junior volunteers. One good example is 17-year-old Tim Kolijn. When he was only 10 years old, Tim came with his father to one of our programming workshops for the first time. His talent for programming soon became obvious. With infectious energy, he quickly turned out to be the ‘expert’, a source of information for the whole group.
When the Brunel Foundation planned a Minecraft programming workshop, it was immediately clear that Tim was the right person to help us. He understood the interests of the kids attending, so he was a perfect match.
“I have happy memories of the Brunel Foundation workshop,” Tim says. “I really enjoyed doing it and wasn't nervous at all, even though I was standing in front of a group of my peers. This workshop left me wanting more. I continued giving a number of similar workshops at TechPlaygrounds.” TechPlaygrounds is a place where (neuro-divergent) teenagers and coaches outside the labour market come together, interact on a social level and create great things.
Tim again: “When I started volunteering at the Foundation’s workshop, I liked it a lot. At my age now, volunteer projects also help me build my network. I am happy that I was able to discover my passion and talent at a young age – that is something I would want for everyone. Linked to this, I would like the school system in the Netherlands to become more customised, making room for every child to discover their talent. What I see in the regular school system is that the programs on offer involve relatively little engineering and technology. If you’re into these things, you often have to look for extracurricular activities”.
When he finishes school, Tim wants to study computer science at the Eindhoven University of Technology. “Maybe I'll take a gap year first,” he says, “but afterwards I definitely want to go to university. I also know for sure that I want to continue with my company. And what the future will bring? We'll see”.