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Belfast Live

Our tutor Sarah Simms with the Hazelwood girls.

On the 9th of March, Belfast Live visited WOMEN'STEC to film and interview our participants who are involved in our #NotJustForBoys programme. Our offices were filled with excitement knowing that we are showcasing our work and highlighting the change we aim to make with the support of Belfast Live.

Jim McDaid, Principal of Hazelwood Primary School, was delighted to share his school’s experience of being involved in the #NotJustForBoys programme. Jim discussed Hazelwood’s engagement with the programme and acknowledged the importance of having services like ours as complementary to the school curriculum. He also talked about how we challenge young females, exploring gender conditioning, stereotypes, and barriers, and opening them up to an array of career options through experiential learning.

Hazelwood Primary Principle Jim McDaid talking to Belfast Live.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming Shannon O’ Doherty, a Joinery Apprentice with Mascott Construction, who wanted to share her experience in the male-dominated construction industry. Shannon spoke about WOMEN’STEC supporting her in finding a work placement and how it’s been essential to her learning. Shannon also discussed the lack of available female mentors, role models and career support to help her within a male-dominated industry and explains why our #NotJustForBoys programme is so important.

Kevin Mc Garry, SHEQ Manager of Mascott Construction and Shannon’s manager, shared his experience from an industry perspective in supporting equality for women and girls. Kevin spoke about the importance of female apprentices and highlighted how extremely vital it is that the industry gets behind the #NotJustForBoys programme to address gender stereotypes, staff, and skill shortages. He also spoke about his positive experience with Shannon and the advantages of apprenticeships to both employers and the apprentice.

Aimee and Amy working on a car outside the building.

The article also highlighted two fantastic female role models, Aimee Wilson and Amy Brady, who are currently studying car mechanics at Belfast MET. They discussed their involvement with the #NotJustForBoys summer scheme last year and how their attendance and participation sparked an interest in car mechanics, resulting in them enrolling in the course at Belfast MET. They also spoke about the significance of girls doing what they enjoy, irrespective of gender stereotypes and how #NotJustForBoys can help with breaking the glass ceiling in industries where women are underrepresented.

We are extremely proud of the work of our #NotJustForBoys programme and the impact it has had on young girls’ lives and the support we have had from those already working in the industry. We are excited to share this impactful work through Belfast Live, which will only help us reach many more young girls and women who can see that there is a place for them to explore, learn and be supported in discovering careers in these sectors.

We would like to thank all those involved for their support and contribution. Check out our video with Belfast Live here and read their article with Annie Crozier here.

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