Imagination. Perseverance. Innovation. Focus on opportunity. Ambition. Relentlessly determined to succeed. These are attributes that not only describe an ideal entrepreneur but are the words that come to mind when people meet 35-year-old Brian Carolissen, False Bay TVET College NC(V) Engineering and Related Design graduate (2012) and founder of Weld Lab, an innovative manufacturing business that is growing despite the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
Inspired by an article written by Centre for Entrepreneurship / Rapid Incubator Centre Manager, Steve Reid, the master welder returned to the False Bay TVET College Westlake Campus in 2017 to enrol in the Incubation Entrepreneurship Programme. He immediately left behind the notion of the comfort and security of being an employee and registered his own company.
This entrepreneurial artisan’s typical day now starts at 5 am, as he juggles work contracts, the daily admin of running a business and his passion for engineering, which sees him constantly seeking innovative techniques, products and services to grow in a competitive industry. His success is no surprise to those who knew him as a False Bay TVET College student.
When the opportunity arose to accompany college representatives in a Swedish exchange programme at Ebersteinska Gymnasiet, Norrköping, in 2011 he seized it with typical enthusiasm. Then, in 2013–2014, he participated in the Community College Initiative Programme at DuPage, near Chicago in the USA, where he acquired priceless insights into the global manufacturing industry while expanding his knowledge in welding technology and industrial design.
These learning experiences were a massive eye-opener and helped him to see opportunities both within his field of training and in its wider application. This is evident in the many innovative products and processes that Weld Lab has already contributed. Brian is also deeply appreciative of the guidance, mentorship and assistance he has received on his road to career success, and particular the lifelong value inherent in developing ongoing expertise in your chosen field.
He advises anyone considering studying and a career path in welding to speak to individuals already in the field, choose the study institution wisely and then look for opportunities to grow your skills set. He says, “Master welders are experienced craftsmen with in-depth knowledge of metal and the techniques involved in welding and other metalwork. Despite many industries automating their welding aspects, a master welder is still in demand and that is the space I strive to operate within.”
Having created jobs and a successful start-up business, Brian wants to plough back even more and recently applied to participate in the Global Youth Advisor Project, a partnership between the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in the USA and Awesome Travel, a South African youth exchange organisation, which will see entrepreneurs like Brian assisting South African students to access opportunities for international learning and working experience in the USA.