While in the wider learning disability context there was a move to promote a more independent life for people with a learning disability, in MacIntyre residents were already experiencing educational activities and training to enhance their abilities and open up a wider range of possibilities.
By 1988, the workshop and education departments were amalgamated to form the Arts, Crafts and Education Centre (ACE), to make a wider range of training experience available to trainees and make better use of the skills and talents of the staff. This proved to be successful. Several adjustments were made to ensure that any of the residents would be able to work in the workshop. Gerry Wheatley, when editor of The Ring, highlighted the relevance of this work saying that ‘bearing in mind that in the case of the special needs group many of the residents would find difficulty in even holding a nail, it is no mean achievement to actually have some of them working in the woodwork shop for short periods’. Consequently, more activities were developed aimed at enhancing the learning of the resident trainees, such as 3D model making, paper making, spinning and weaving.
The Office Skills Training Unit was established, providing training in basic office skills, like filing and photocopying. The rationale for MacIntyre placing the training of residents in work skills as a high priority stems from the vision that training enables people to work in a range of different environments both within MacIntyre projects and elsewhere.
“Changes in curriculum and responsibility in the areas of Further Education and Therapy have all taken place and many new and exciting off-site experiences have been found for our residents – not the least of which is an ongoing work experience scheme for some of our more able people.”
-Extract from The Ring Spring 1987