Trades students from Ara Institute of Canterbury are back on site at the Alzheimers South Canterbury unit in Timaru this week, getting invaluable real world experience while upgrading an essential community resource.
It’s a win-win situation says Ara Painting and Decorating programme tutor Cody McMinn. “You can’t get any more real than this experience and the difference we have made to the building is really significant,” he said.
This is not the first time students have loaned a hand to the Alzheimers South Canterbury building, which was previously a bowling club. In 2016, 14 students of the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills, Allied Trades – Painting & Decorating, spent almost four weeks painting the exterior of the building, while carpentry stream students rolled up their sleeves too.
“The carpentry students and tutors worked alongside professional building contractors in the removal and replacement of windows and doors in the main building,” Diane Nutsford, Chair of Alzheimers South Canterbury says. “The painting students and tutors undertook water blasting and painting of the main building last year and more recently the outdoor storeroom/workshop/reading room building.”
“On all occasions the tutors have been professional, ensuring our requirements are met and offering advice where required. We have been impressed with the health and safety consultation with students carried out prior to and during work on site by the tutors. Both the carpentry and paint work carried out by tutors and students has been of an extremely high standard.”
“The students have been a delight to have on site, interacting with staff and clients at the venue and taking an interest in the background of the Centre.”
Alzheimers South Canterbury fundraised $600,000 to repair the Centre, with donations from local business raising half the amount and in-kind support of labour or materials from organisations such as Ara making up the remainder. The facilities are used for day care of clients with Alzheimers. However rooms are also hired out to a wide range of community groups, making this facility a valuable resource for Timaru.
“Alzheimers South Canterbury has been overwhelmed by the funding and assistance offered by businesses and groups from our local community,” Diane says.
“Our vision for the Park Centre facility could not be achieved without the generous support from local businesses such as Ara.”
“The provision of tutors and students has saved us thousands in labour costs. Ara is on our honours board - we are very, very appreciative.”