Women’s training group overwhelmed by demand
Training and employment organisation WOMEN’STEC have stated that a new purpose-built premises needs to be created to improve job opportunities and tackle deprivation in north Belfast.
Anne McVicker, Chief Executive of WOMEN’STEC discussed their hopes for expansion with Stormont Junior Ministers, Jonathan Bell and Martina Anderson, who were visiting their headquarters in the Duncairn Gardens area of the city.
Ms McVicker said: “We have identified the need for a new stand-alone facility that will create equality of opportunity for the women of this area.
“We have reached full capacity and the time has come to move into larger premises so we can cope with the increasing demand for training.”
During their visit the two Ministers were informedof the organisation’s five year plan which, together with securing new premises, includes establishing a new childcare social economy business, building satellite centres in FE colleges throughout Northern Ireland and increasing its income by developing its Tradeswoman NI directory.
Ms McVicker also outlined WOMEN’STEC’s plan is to become a self sustaining organisation.
“We aim to have business incubation units where women can be helped in setting up their own enterprises, plus training workshops, IT suite and a crèche that can be run as a commercial enterprise,” she said.
“We need to find an alternative site in North Belfast, which will enable us to help more women and target social need more effectively. The demand is very high for our services.”
The two Ministers were given a tour of the premises and spoke to women participating in the Plumbing Open College Network Course and the Exploring Enterprise Course, NVQ Level Two, which teaches entrepreneurship for women wishing to become self employed.
WOMEN’STEC was founded in 1993 with the aim of providing training and employment in non traditional areas for females such as Construction, plumbing, joinery and IT.It currently has 135 students on a range of courses funded by the European Social Fund, the Department of Employment and Learning, the Training for Women Network, The Big Lottery, Awards for All and PEACE III.
The organisation runs an online Trades Directory advertising skilled tradeswomen in a range of areas such as painting and decorating, tiling and electrical work.
At the moment WOMEN’STEC operates on two sites and can no longer meet the demands of growing numbers of women in the area for new skills.
To find out about the training and services it offers, visit www.womenstec.com.