My name’s Shelly and I live in Carrickfergus with my teenage daughter and son.  I’d always been interested in learning trades skills, but wasn’t sure where I could go to train around school runs and the kids.  My confidence was low and I didn’t want to walk into a class full of boys who were just out of school, so I hadn’t contacted any of the further education colleges and just assumed there wasn’t another way to get into a trades career.  Then I happened to mention this to a friend, who said she drove by a place called WOMEN’STEC on her way to work and that I should get in contact with them and see what they could offer. This was in early 2016 and I haven’t looked back!

In addition to completing OCN accredited levels 1 and 2 in Carpentry, I have also done an English Essentials Skills qualification at WOMEN’STEC and attended personal development sessions.  The tutors and staff are all so encouraging; they really want you to achieve your goals. I started volunteering for WOMEN’STEC at the beginning of 2017, working with Louise in the workshop and doing various maintenance jobs around the building.  This has really allowed me to develop my skills and build confidence, and because of the encouragement I received, I started thinking about getting into non-traditional employment. I heard about a maintenance job for a local organisation and decided to apply.  I’m delighted to say that I’m now a Maintenance Worker on a call out basis. This suits me perfectly, as I’ll still have time to keep training and I’m in the middle of applying for Forklift training and my CSR card.

WOMEN’STEC has really changed my life and I would tell anyone thinking about doing a course to go for it – it’s a very positive experience.