Gilbert-Ash Ltd hosted a study visit for WOMEN’STEC joinery students to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, which provided an impressive insight into the fantastic level of joinery incorporated into the award winning building.

Gilbert-Ash Technical Director, Finbarr McMeel, gave an inspirational talk about the building and the use of Iroko timber – a very durable and attractive wood that has been used on the exterior as well as the main theatre and throughout the building. WOMEN’STEC students were interested to learn the woodwork throughout the building involved approximately 80 joiners / master craftsmen and it was shortlisted for the British Architects Stirling Prize in 2012.

The visit to the Lyric was part of the Supporting People – Empowering Communities (SPEC) programme. The project is part funded by the Northern Ireland European Social Fund 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy. SPEC runs in partnership with Clanmil Housing Group and is backed by leading construction firm Gilbert-Ash Ltd and JMC Mechanical and Construction Ltd.

The SPEC programme provides skills and employability training in non-traditional work areas to women aged 16+. Accredited courses include plumbing, joinery, painting and decorating, tiling, horticulture, information technology and first aid, helping to equip participants for the world of work. Through the SPEC programme, training schemes for more than 500 participants who face difficult barriers to employment and training will be created over a three year period.

WOMEN’STEC would like to thank Maria Bradley and Finbarr McMeel from Gilbert-Ash for organising the excellent and inspirational study visit.