What Our Students Say…


View student videos on our FaceBook page by clicking here.

View interview with Aine by clicking here.

View interview with Natalie by clicking here.

View interview with Adele about lifelong learning by clicking here.

View clip from BBC(NI) Community Life TV programme by clicking here.

View NvTv “Focal Point” / opportunities for women to train in engineering and carpentry by clicking here.

“I enjoyed my course with WOMEN’STEC, which gave me the opportunity to experience a workplace atmosphere.  The course was delivered very professionally yet in a comfortable way making everyone feel at ease and keen to learn.”  Bethany, aged 17.

Leanne’s Story:  I’m 29 years old and I live in North Belfast. I recently became employed full-time just two weeks after my WOMEN’STEC classes ended.

I enrolled with WOMEN’STEC and I began a Joinery class and a Plumbing class in 2015 which finished in 2016. I also wanted to gain confidence and meet new people.

I achieved a lot out of the courses at WOMEN’STEC – more confidence and a positive outlook, which has helped me believe I can do anything. I mostly enjoyed joinery as I love creating things and working with my hands. My brother has his own joinery business so I wanted to be able to use what I learnt to be able to assist my brother. Plumbing was great as we all have been stuck with air locks in our radiators and leaking toilets and now I know how to fix these at home which will save me money in the long run and without relying on a contractor.

I also loved meeting new people. Everyone was brilliant – the women who work at WOMEN’STEC, the tutors and all who were in both my classes. Completing the courses with WOMEN’STEC gave me so much more confidence and this has resulted in me going out and getting a full-time job just two weeks after my WOMEN’STEC classes ended.

If I had to describe WOMEN’STEC in one sentence I’d say, ‘Inspiring, uplifting, positive, can do attitude, boosts confidence and friendly!’ The staff are amazing people and definitely speak to them about classes. I’d also recommend women to gain new skills in areas that you only think a man can do, as women can train and work in trades successfully.

“I wish I could study at WOMEN’STEC full-time! Loved the courses and the learning environment.” Carpentry student, aged 16.

Beth’s Story:  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.

“The courses were very stimulating and interesting. I hadn’t done any courses for a long time and it improved my motivation and skills. Lovely environment to learn in.” Jean, Gardening student.

Sharon’s Story:  I live in East Belfast. Eighteen months ago I had to take early retirement from work and, in October 2015, 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.