‘We support women and girls to improve their life opportunities’: Belfast group trains women in non-traditional skills

WOMEN’STEC are the most significant supplier of schooling for ladies in non-standard skills in Northern Eire.

ased in north Belfast, the organisation supports women of all ages to return to employment in non-traditional sectors. Functioning for far more than 20 years, the education supplier offers a variety of programmes and programs which includes joinery, home furniture building and wallpapering, and a ton far more moreover.

“WOMEN’STEC supports females and ladies to boost their life alternatives,” says Young Mum’s Programme Coordinator Amanda Ferguson.

“We challenge gender stereotypes and stimulate girls and women to check out occupations in non-conventional industries, in certain, construction and IT. The organisation provides teaching in capabilities these types of as carpentry, plumbing, electrics, horticulture, tiling, painting and decorating, and facts engineering, accompanied with particular progress and employability help to improve the expertise and self confidence of participants.”

Amanda (44), who is from north Belfast, operates the Youthful Mum’s Programme, which was established up in 2018.

Younger mothers are invited to take part in a free of charge Do-it-yourself system that is aimed at girls aged 16-30. Enrolment is now open for the September study course, which will just take area on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at WOMEN’STEC.

“At WOMEN’STEC we have been assisting young mum’s defeat road blocks by offering schooling and help companies because 2018 when we recognized a gap in programme providers for younger mothers.

“It begun in 2018 but we have significantly progressed it considering the fact that the start off of this yr. The Developing Independence Programme (BIP) is the official name, but we market it as The Young Mum’s team as that’s the demographic.

“The programme is funded by Rosa and the Smallwood Have faith in, and is aimed exclusively at youthful mums aged among 16-30.

“These younger gals can experience major barriers when striving to entry teaching and schooling services. For occasion, the deficiency of childcare, low instructional attainment and lower stages of self-esteem are popular obstacles confronted by the young girls we do the job with.

“The BIP addresses all of these, providing participants’ skills schooling, own improvement prospects, and obtain to absolutely free onsite childcare at our registered crèche operated by Wee Chicks.

“This permits younger mums to have flexibility with their time in which they can rest, master and improve understanding that their baby/children are harmless and nicely cared for, and are ready to perform with other children and create their very own wee social skills.

“Participants are welcomed into a harmless and relaxed ecosystem where by they discover Diy skills and how to properly use electric power equipment and devices this sort of as a mitre noticed, power drills, a router, circular saw, and bricklaying and slicing products. They can generate a stool or other objects to just take house with them.”

The Young Mum’s Programme Co-Ordinator suggests there are numerous rewards of taking part in the system.

“The programme is remarkably resourceful and for lots of a cathartic knowledge,” Amanda suggests.

“The classes are typically participant led, as in the women focus on and agree on which abilities they would most like to study. Our younger women frequently cite reduced nervousness and enhanced self-esteem as a constructive result of their participation.

“[Participants benefit from] a person-to-a person mentoring, in which I meet frequently with the young mums to establish any assistance that is required.

“Also, the team peer help is an critical part of the programme, and it is wonderful to see powerful friendships forming and enduring, and the assurance of the gals rising.

“This was notably apparent during Covid — how critical a aid technique was, so we adapted to on-line teaching. But this is not usually viable to younger mums who have no guidance for childcare, so as shortly as we have been capable to securely provide the females back onsite once again, we prioritised bringing them in. We reassured them that we would be robustly adhering to all Covid recommendations.”

Amanda is motived to continue on doing the get the job done that she does, by looking at to start with-hand the big difference it tends to make.

“I have labored at WOMEN’STEC for 6 many years and was a short while ago promoted to the Young Mum’s Programme Co-Ordinator. I unquestionably love operating with our youthful gals as I get to see progress in their self-belief and progression in their self-self confidence, which is key to success.

“It’s so beautiful to see them produce powerful friendships in just the team where by they can motivate each other and ultimately construct a sturdy aid network amongst themselves.

“I am now doing the job on the September programme, if anybody is fascinated, they can mail me an e mail at [email protected], give me a call on 02890 749810, or send a DM by means of the Fb web page.

“I actually glimpse ahead to meeting new mums who are completely ready to consider that very first action, if they want to contact up and have a chat or a coffee and search all over the developing and creche prior to they get started the programme then this can be easily arranged.

“We are quite grateful to our funders for helping us to be in a position to present this considerably-essential support, and with the charge of residing increasing it is important that we are in a position to continue to offer no cost childcare.

“We welcome young mums from all above the place but regretably at current we do not have any funding to pay journey costs, which is also a barrier a lot of the youthful mums are up in opposition to, so we are working on securing supplemental funding to aid this.”

Bethany-Kate Bayliss, who is from Belfast, took aspect in the September 2020 Youthful Mum’s Programme. Bethany (23), who is mum to two-yr-old Belle Charity, learned new skills at WOMEN’STEC, that she continues to appreciate today.

“I have taken aspect in mosaics, Tiffany glass crafts, bag portray, body portray and group artwork assignments at WOMENS’TEC,” Bethany-Kate suggests.

“I have learnt different varieties of crafts that I can do at household as new hobbies. I also learnt that it is Ok to acquire time out to be by yourself and not Mum all the time.

“I truly liked conference other youthful mums who ended up my age and had been expecting for the duration of the pandemic. It manufactured me sense like I was not alone.”

To individuals who are considering signing up for the September programme, Bethany-Kate suggests: “I would surely advise this class to other youthful mums, for the reason that it helps to get you out of the residence following little one is born.

“You also forge friendships with women of all ages who truly comprehend you and what you’re heading through, simply because they have not too long ago gone by it or are going as a result of it on their own.”