Giving everyone an ‘equal bite of the cherry’ is what drives Wayne Samways in his new role as Accessibility Coordinator at WITT Te Pūkenga.
The accessibility role sees him support ākonga and kaimahi with the educational and operational services they need to succeed at WITT. One day Wayne might be creating a bespoke evacuation plan for particular ākonga. Another day he may be coordinating a reader writer or issuing specialist equipment to turn written text into spoken words.
It all starts when ākonga tick a box on their enrolment form to indicate a request for support needs.
“I meet with ākonga and put a plan in place to do whatever is in our power to ensure equity for them,” he says.
If ākonga don’t reach out as they enrol, or support is needed as they make their way through their learning programme, Wayne’s door is always open.
“There’s a huge growth in people needing support – in part it’s because people are more open and accepting of differences,” he says.
Wayne, who started his work life as an apprentice baker at New World, describes his career as blessed. His CV includes leadership and educational roles across government, NGOs, charities, accounting and aged care. Through these roles he has built an invaluable web of connections and experience to draw on that have now intersected and brought him to WITT to fulfil his passion for supporting people and their growth.
“It’s an exciting time to join Te Pūkenga, especially with the importance on better serving priority learners,” he says.
Te Pūkenga has a focus on delivering equity to traditionally underserved groups including disabled learners.
“A recent Te Pūkenga report says disabled learners are one of the most educationally disadvantaged groups in Aotearoa.”
Wayne is a self-professed ‘active relaxer’ so when he isn’t at work, serving on boards or being Dad to his tamariki he enjoys music, art, cars, brewing beer and making whiskey.