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Leading Trades Training Centre Opens at EIT

August 9, 2010

EIT Hawke’s Bay’s newest facility has been built to exacting environmental standards that reflect the institute’s leading approach to sustainability and trend-setting international methods for teaching trades and technology.

To be officially opened on Friday, August 13, the $8.5 million Trades and Technology Training Centre was designed and constructed to a number of environmentally sustainable design initiatives.  Architects and engineers involved in the project recently assessed the building as meeting those goals.

Chief executive Chris Collins says growing interest in trades and technology programmes and a different mode of teaching triggered EIT’s decision to develop a greenfields site at the western end of the campus. This replaces facilities built in the early 1970s and the nature of trades education has changed significantly since then.

Plans for the new centre evolved from a rigorous appraisal of leading international developments in trades education. The flexible open-play layout of workshops areas for carpentry, panel beating, automotive work, gas welding, machining and fabrication, for example, allows for a more integrated project approach to teaching different trades.

Students can store their projects using an extensive bank of racking space.

Real-world trades training methods are used so that carpentry students, for example, learn all the stages of construction by building small houses on site. These cottages can be worked on under cover or wheeled outdoors to a secure yard that forms part of the complex.

It was EIT’s carpentry programmes that spearheaded the institute’s move to project based learning several years ago, and this highly successful teaching method has since been extended to the institute’s other trades and technology programmes.

The new centre also provides certificate-level students with a more realistic industry-type environment.  At 3900 sq m, the floor area is almost double that of the former workshop facilities.

Mr Collins said EIT staff travelled overseas to evaluate teaching trends and view purpose-designed trades training buildings. The institute’s own facilities equated with the best of these models.
“We have a building that is world-class for an institution like EIT – one that puts us at the forefront of trades education.”

Paris Magdalinos Architects say design features include high specification mechanical extraction systems that maintain a high level of interior air quality in the workshop area, efficient energy use, waste recycling systems, water conservation, use of natural lighting and renewable building products.

Another environmental consideration was minimising construction waste, with 84 percent by weight of waste building materials diverted from landfill.

The centre is the most recent development in a capital works programme that had seen $20m spent on-campus in the last five years and $50m in the last decade.

“We are now one of the leading campuses in the country, with this new centre taking our trades and technology training well into the 21st century.”

Student enrolments tracked EIT’s growing role in trades and technology training.

“Three to four years ago, trades accounted for two to three percent of the institute’s activity.  Now it is over nine percent.”

Dr Ken Whittle, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology said,” The Trades and Technology complex will enable students to learn in an environment which reflects modern industrial processes. The workshop equipment has been either refurbished or replaced and digital technology is in all classrooms.”

Some 400 representatives of local industry, the education sector and industry training organisations have been invited to the opening of the state-of-the-art complex, which includes administrative offices, staff facilities and reception as well as workshop areas and class and meeting rooms.