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Courses to cater for learning wishlists

June 7, 2019

ACE Co-ordinator Sue Matthews at the Vege & Vines Lifestyle Health Conference. EIT supported the Gisborne based BROAD study programme and through ACE, offered cooking classes for participants on a plant based diet.

EIT is putting together courses for people who want to learn a bit of DIY to improve and maintain their homes.

They are among the big line-up of the Adult Community Education (ACE) programme, which offers free community-based education.

ACE coordinator Sue Matthews is working with Turanga Health, Habitat for Humanity and others for the series of workshops to learn the basics of home maintenance and improvement. Apart from learning things like painting and decorating, there will be workshops to help people tap into projects like free home insulation.

“It’s all about helping people do things themselves to improve their homes and their health,” says Sue.

The DIY course is among many on offer around the region.

Among those coming up over the coming months are fashion, sewing and clothing repairs, music, art, design and screenprinting, raranga (traditional Maori textiles) and rongoa (traditional Māori healing systems).

An exciting offering this year is earthbuilding, including ceramics and building umu (earth ovens) led by earthbuilding guru Grant Steven.

ACE also offers courses in Te Reo Māori and sign language , both of which have strong followings.

Also popular are computing courses for seniors and horticulture for beginners, showing people how to establish their own vegetable and herb gardens.

Cooking for health, led by chef Bridget French, is back by popular request, showing how to cook tasty meals to support people with chronic conditions like diabetes and arthritis.

Many ACE courses are in rural centres and often developed in response to community requests.

For example, a group of people in Waipiro Bay wanted to learn to create products for a small business that would appeal to tourists.

EIT recruited renowned Tokomaru Bay potter Baye Riddell to teach ceramics.

“We try to put together courses that suits each community’s aspirations,” says Sue.

“We want to know what is on peoples’ wish-lists for learning.”

Sue works with numerous community organisations, including Corrections, the NZ Arthritis Foundation, the public health service,Deaf Aotearoa, Vanessa Lowndes Abilities Centre, CCS Disability Action, the Gisborne Volunteer Centre, Turanga Health and NZ Police.

The ACE programme is Government-funded and aims to give people another opportunity in education. In many cases people gain the confidence to go on with further learning that will enhance their social and financial well-being.

Last year over 3000 people in the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay region enrolled for ACE courses, which equates to 150 full-time students.

“One of our biggest strengths are the fantastic tutors and kaumatua from around the regions, who share their knowledge and skills. 

“Our aim is to engage people in education to boost their confidence for being an active part of their community “