Belfast Telegraph

Christine banks on local training to bounce back

Redundancy is usually a devastating time, but one north Belfast woman has used it to her |advantage.

Christine Skeffington, 54, completed a remarkable transformation recently when she was named as one of the best Women’sTec students of the year.

The Waterloo Park woman had worked all her life in a bank before starting a job in administration.

But after being in full-time employment for more than 30 years she was made redundant 18 months ago, and was forced to take a hard look at her life.

“I just woke up in the morning and thought ‘this is weird’. I couldn’t get up and get going because I didn’t have anything to do,” |she said.

And even though she lived just up the road from Duncairn Gardens-based Women’sTec, she had never heard of them before.

“I’d always worked and worked and worked and never needed to know about training,” she said.

“After I was made redundant, I read about Women’sTec in the paper and gave them a call.”

After studying electrics and plumbing she has not only gained many new skills, but has regained her confidence, which had taken quite a serious knock as a result of her redundancy.

“Because all of the women were in the same boat, you got great support from them, and from the tutors.

“I’ve decided to go with Habitat for Humanity now, to help build houses in Romania this October. I never would have done that before,” she said.

And on another positive note, she recently landed a new part time job at the Lakeland store in Belfast.

“It was the first job I applied for — I really wanted to work there and was just over the moon to get the job.

“The timing was right, and I had my confidence back. I guess this must have been meant to be,” she added.

Christine and 150 other women were presented with certificates at a ceremony in Belfast for the courses that they have completed this year.

Women’sTec is a provider of training for women in non-traditional skills in Northern Ireland — everything from joinery to plumbing to ICT.

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