A first for New Zealand

Upholding one of DCA’s core values of being lifelong learners, Principal Partner, Werner Naudé, has successfully completed his studies to earn the title as New Zealand’s only Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP).

Facilitated by the Association for Learning Environments, the intent of the ALEP credential is as a professional designation of the Association, to signify excellence within the industry. It represents an outstanding professional in the industry of planning and designing learning environments.

The course’s core competencies are multi-faceted, one being Educational Vision – exhibiting an understanding of best and next practices related to many educational considerations, leadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design among them.

Community Engagement is the second core competency, relating to community-wide research processes through group facilitation, strategic conversations, qualitative surveys, along with board and administrative workshops to discover, articulate and communicate a community-based foundational vision that will form the basis of a plan for the design of learning environments.
Masterplanning is also accounted for in the core competencies – essentially pre-design planning of educational facilities. A further competency is ethics and professionalism – providing leadership and stewardship with a focus on advocating for the importance of the learning environment on a child’s future.

Advocating for long-term solutions that address the needs of all children and stakeholders is also one of the core focuses – including under-served groups.

It is no small undertaking to commit to the intensive requirements of the ALEP qualification while running a busy architecture practice, however, Werner considered the sacrifice and commitment as being worthwhile to ensure that DCA’s education projects are based on world-leading best practice. Alongside the benefits of what Werner’s continuing professional development means for DCA’s education clients, the broader understanding of neuroscience and people’s responses to spatial differentiation is widely applicable to all aspects of architecture, from commercial offices to large scale civic projects and beyond.

With on-going dissemination to share relevant knowledge with other team members, the qualification’s reach has an even greater benefit to DCA and our clients than Werner’s individual development.

An investment of a year’s study and successfully exceeding the minimum 80% pass rate places Werner among a select few – with only 300 globally-recognised ALEP qualified individuals, with a handful of those in Australasia, and he is the only one in NZ. Earning the ALEP credential is the hallmark of a committed learning environments planner. We congratulate Werner and eagerly anticipate the influence his further insight and knowledge will have for DCA’s clients.