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Students get hands-on to build for intellectually disabled

30 August 2013

Students get hands-on to build for intellectually disabled

Community Living and Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology) have teamed up to create a fit-for-purpose home for people living with intellectual disabilities in the Waikato. The partnership is part of a broader strategic alliance which helps to build community-wide understanding of the needs of people with disabilities while providing students with hands-on learning opportunities.

Wintec students studying environmental design, carpentry, electrical engineering and interior design, have been involved in the creation of the home from pitching concepts through to the design and construction phases.

The project began in 2011 when built environmental design students provided concepts for the two-bedroom dwelling. The following year, carpentry and electrical students built the home off-site at Wintec’s Rotokauri campus in north Hamilton. The house was then relocated to its final site in Whatawhata earlier this year. The final task was interior design, completed with input by Wintec’s interior design students.

Community Living staff and Wintec tutors worked alongside the students throughout the project to educate them on the complex support and housing needs of people living with intellectual disabilities.

Community Living chief executive officer Marese McGee says, “This project is representative of our approach to seek out community partnerships that are reciprocal and that contribute to building a more inclusive society.

“Through this project we’ve been able to build a home to specifications that will meet our clients’ needs, while Wintec students have had the opportunity to put their learning to use in a practical, real-life situation.”

Wintec chief executive Mark Flowers says, “We’re pleased to be involved in this positive community initiative. Through this partnership we’ve been able to build community-wide understanding of the needs of people with disabilities, while adding a valuable hands-on element to our students’ learning”.

This project is one of a number that Community Living and Wintec have completed since their strategic alliance began in September 2010. The next joint project, due to start later this year, will involve creating a safe outdoor environment for people with high needs.


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