A secret lair* piled high with tiny coloured bricks is every Lego lover’s dream.
For Lego master builder Kieran Jiwa, that dream has come true thanks to his role at Melbourne’s newly reopened Legoland Discovery Centre, where he holds the keys to a little-known kingdom.
“I have a room that is full of Lego bricks from floor to ceiling, but it’s actually not big enough to hold all the Lego,” Mr Jiwa said.
“I have a second, secret room that’s full of the overflow. It’s under lock and key and I go in there when I need extra Lego.”
Every single brick is computer catalogued* and Mr Jiwa can check before he goes into the room if the bricks he seeks are there, right down to how many there are and in what colour.
“It’s the ultimate Lego room,” he said.
BECOMING A LEGO MASTER BUILDER
As a six-year-old boy living in England, Mr Jiwa’s path in life was decided one otherwise unremarkable day, as he sat on the floor of the local library looking through a book.
“I saw a photo of a lady using a tool to put a Lego brick onto this giant model,” he said.
“The caption for the picture said something like, ‘Lego master model builders use special tools to create amazing Lego models.’
“I thought, ‘That’s it, that’s the career decision made’.”
Over the years Mr Jiwa met people who didn’t believe a job at Lego was realistic, but he never wavered* from his goal.
Today his master builder job is proof that a childhood hobby can become a successful career.
“I don’t think that I ever really gave up on that dream career since then,” he said.
“When it came to choosing subjects at school and making a career decision, I told everyone that I wanted to work for Lego.”
Not only is his example exciting for kids who have similar ambitions*, it is reassuring* for parents struggling to accept Lego building could be a serious future job for their child.
In fact, Mr Jiwa holds a degree in architecture and integrated design from the University of Western Australia, which he did because of his Lego dream.
“I told everyone I didn’t want to be an architect, I wanted to work for Lego. That’s why I was there,” he said.
“Architecture and design are the two specialisations* that I had read Lego were looking for.”
After his degree, Mr Jiwa’s path to Lego briefly swerved, but only ever included jobs that were relevant to master building.
“I’ve done a bit of carpentry, designing and building cubby houses for children. I also used to teach incursions, which is where you go into schools and teach activities,” he said.
PLAY IS FOR EVERYONE
The Lego Play Well Report 2018 found that 95 per cent of parents believe play is essential for a child’s wellbeing* and is a vital* educational tool. Unfortunately, many adults don’t play as often.
“As we grow up, I think that we lose sight of the value of our imagination and our ability to play,” Mr Jiwa said.
The Legoland Discovery Centre strongly promotes play for all ages.
Currently working on a top-secret project, Mr Jiwa said most of his working day was spent playing with Lego.
“I build and play with Lego every day. It’s not just about children. I think everyone needs to keep playing and not stop,” he said.
“Kids love to bend or break the rules if they can.
“They really do embrace* their imaginative side, which I think is so valuable for parents and adults to be reminded of.
“For kids and adults alike, playing and learning together are really vital.”
- lair: secret or private place
- catalogued: listed and described
- wavered: be undecided between two things
- ambitions: strong desires to achieve things
- reassuring: helps someone get over their doubts or worries
- specialisations: areas or skills that you concentrate on and become really good at
- wellbeing: state of being comfortable, healthy and happy
- vital: absolutely necessary
- embrace: accept willingly and enthusiastically
- Where was he, age 6, when he first thought about Lego as a career?
- In the study, what percentage of parents believed play was essential for children?
- What did Kieran study at university?
- What else has he done as a job?
- What does Kieran do at work every day?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. The Ultimate Career
Lego master builder Kieran Jiwa decided on his dream job at 6 years old. But it didn’t just happen that he became a Lego master builder, he made sure he ended up there through careful planning and study choices.
Make a list of the steps that Kieran Jiwa took to make sure he ended up in the career that he loves.
If you could have a job doing your favourite thing in the world – what would it be? Is it a career choice that we know exists (such as a doctor, vet, astronaut, chef, etc) or one that you would love to create, and get paid for?
Write a list of steps that you might need to take to end up in the job of your dreams. What type of subjects at secondary school might help you in your chosen career? What might you need to study after secondary school to help you move into your chosen career? Are there any jobs similar that you could do first to help you in your dream career?
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Critical and Creative thinking
Play is important for everyone and Lego offers a great way to use our imagination and creativity. But it is not the only way to play and be creative. Make a list of at least 10 other ways adults and children can use their imagination and creativity.
What is your favourite activity when you get to just ‘play’? Is Lego your thing? Or do you prefer another activity?
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking
Proper Noun Police
A proper noun is a noun that names a particular person, place or thing. It always has a capital letter.
How many proper nouns can you find within this article? Find them all and sort them into the category of name, place, time (date/month).
Can you find any proper nouns included in your writing?
What are they?
Can you sort them into their categories?
HAVE YOUR SAY: What is your dream job?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.