I’m unemployed and I’ve lived in Glengormley for ten years.   I have four grown children aged 33, 30, 29 and 26.  My fifth child is a 10 year old girl.

A friend of mine told me about WOMEN’STEC offering different classes such as plumbing, tiling, and joinery. This sparked my interest because I had been unemployed for a few years and was looking for ways to acquire new skills.

When I started with WOMEN’STEC I really didn’t know what to expect. I signed up for an accredited Tiling course and an accredited Joinery class. I looked forward to each class and what we would be learning.  The instructors were skilled, helpful and answered all my questions.  They showed patience and gave everyone on the course the support and attention needed.  I found the other women in the class supportive and we all worked well together.  We definitely did not want the classes to end.  There wasn’t one thing I could fault at WOMEN’STEC.

Attending the courses at WOMEN’STEC lifted my spirits, my confidence and made me hopeful. The classes helped me find confidence in my abilities and also helped me discover new skills that I never knew I had.  For me WOMEN’STEC was much more than attending classes. The staff provided me with information and opportunities; it didn’t just end when the classes finished.  The staff helped me find other avenues that I could take in order to expand on what I had learned.

I was invited to attend an information day where representatives from different organisations such as Belfast City Council and Women in Business came and spoke with us about different options we could avail of, for example, work placements, further education, etc.  WOMEN’STEC are also helping me find ways to further my skills in the construction industry. They have been able to find me a funded place on the Construction Skills Register (CSR) health and safety training course and they are working with me to undertake a short placement on a construction site. I also had the opportunity to take part in a site visit to the Lyric Theatre, a multi-award winning theatre project, and hear first-hand from the main contractor, Gilbert-Ash Ltd, about the construction and woodwork used in the building. These opportunities have helped me continue to bring my skills and knowledge up to a more professional level.

Because of my increased confidence in myself and my abilities, I’m in a much better position job-wise. I am considering self-employment options, and I have applied for a part-time position within a construction company.