I live in East Belfast. Eighteen months ago I had to take early retirement from work and I enrolled in a Joinery course at WOMEN’STEC.

I had a fantastic experience attending WOMEN’STEC. I would say it has been life changing for me. The Joinery course was so interesting, teaching me many things such as how different joints were used in the construction of furniture, doors, window frames and house construction. We had the opportunity to make some joints and we used various hand tools and power tools which a lot of us had never used before. We eventually made a small stool from wood, which looked fantastic and I was thrilled with my achievement.

I also attended the plumbing course. This covered many practical issues around the home, such as leaking taps, how the heating systems work, and how to get better heat from our systems. We learned how to remove a small radiator which was fantastic. Before I completed this course, I would have had no understanding of how plumbing works. Now I have a good basic understanding and an ability to tackle plumbing issues which I wouldn’t have dreamt of before.

The courses at WOMEN’STEC are brilliant for learning all these practical skills. I also came away with increased self-worth and confidence to do things I thought were beyond me.

WOMEN’STEC encourages women to step out of your shell, out of your comfort zone and try things. From this experience and as a result, I am in the process of starting a small crafts business, aiming to make stools and benches from reclaimed wood. WOMEN’STEC have referred me on to business courses and have held information days on what to do next – these things have been of great support and have helped me identify my future goals.

WOMEN’STEC is so successful because of the fantastic women running and organising the centre and the courses. They encourage and support women, and work tirelessly on improving conditions for women. I cannot thank them enough and will always remember my days there with great fondness. Thanks to everyone at WOMEN’STEC.