Supporting our communities – AIMES Awards finalist
The North Harbour Club AIMES awards finalists were announced recently with eight young individuals being recognised and rewarded for outstanding excellence in the arts, innovation (science and technology), music, education, sport and service to the community.
Alvarium is a proud sponsor of the Ross Finlayson Award – a legacy award honouring Founding President, Ross Finlayson - awarded to a young person with strong leadership qualities.
This year it went to Jannik Wittgen, a 22-year-old in his final semester at the University of Auckland Engineering School. Some of us were lucky enough to meet Jannik when he visited Alvarium to talk about his past, his future and what the award will mean to him.
Jannik says he chose engineering as he loves working on challenging problems which positively impact people and the community. He specialised in mechatronics in his honours year – a discipline of engineering that focuses on the design, intelligence, control and programming of smart devices, robots, and intelligent systems.
“There is lots of opportunity for young people to grow in the tech space” says Jannik. “But we can’t rely on it to solve the world’s problems, its only part of the solution. It needs good policy and governance around it. There are also lots of ethical issues, so it’s not used in the wrong way”.
Jannik has already had an insightful start to his career, having done internship placements at Beca and Rocket Lab where he was responsible for a technical team on a major project developing mechatronic hardware that will make rockets more efficient in the future.
“There was a lot of responsibility managing a project. It involved the project management of staff, time frames and technical problem solving all working together to get the project off the ground [literally]”.
Jannik currently works part time at Brain Play where he teaches students aged 5-15 coding, robotics, printing, 3D printing and other STEM topics, And as a theatre manager for Whangaparaoa College – overseeing their sound and lighting during productions.
Leadership through volunteering
A great deal of Jannik’s leadership skills come from his volunteering work which has been a big part of his life for over nine years. He currently volunteers for NZ Air Cadet forces, the Mechanics and Mechatronics Students Association, Duke of Edinburgh’s International awards and is an instructor on the Spirit of New Zealand - clocking up almost 100 days on the water.
“I love seeing people develop, it’s exciting to see them come out of their shells and being part of the process of helping them decide where to go or what to do next" says Jannik.
The AIMES Award
Jannik says he will use the AIMES award to fund a 21-day adventure at Outward Bound Anakiwa - a course focused on helping 18–25-year-olds focus and perspective to decide on their future direction.
“I’m hoping I have some time to reflect on my future before I start my job as a Process Development Engineer at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare next year. I love leading teams and I want to find work that makes an impact. It would be an honour to one day lead an organisation, or even the country to overcome some of the massive challenges we face today and will face in the future” said Jannik.
Alvarium CEO Andrew Williams, asked Jannik to stay in touch “We have an eco-system of contacts globally and we’d love to help you prosper as a young future leader”. Andrew is a member of the North Harbour Club.
The six AIMES Award category winners received $15,000 each in 2023, with the Supreme Winner receiving a total of $30,000.
The North Harbour Club
Established in 1995, the North Harbour Club is made up of over 220 members, all leaders in local affairs, business, education, sport and social development. Members have stated the desire to provide financial assistance to young people of the region who are achieving excellence in their chosen field. To date they have gifted over $3 million to talented North Harbour rangitahi.
Applications for next year’s awards are open now.