THE Women’s Workshop, a project designed to create more equal access and participation into the construction industry for rural women in Northumberland, is up and running in Amble.
The project is a partnership between North Northumberland Women’s Network and the Walter Segal Trust. Recognising the difficulties women face accessing the construction industry, the project offers skills development, mentoring and support via taster courses and hands-on experience, to encourage more women to be trained in the manual trades.
Women’s Workshop project manager Hala Zaluczkowska has been working with Mary Kelly, a Walter Segal-trained architect, to teach the timber frame self-build method to women volunteers over one weekend a month since September 2007.
Hala said: “This is an ambitious project, and one which is very important for women in rural Northumberland. Women are severely under-represented in construction and manual trades within the county, and the Women’s Workshop project provides an encouraging and comfortable arena to learn in.”
Valerie Crosby is a volunteer and currently studying plumbing and tiling at Northumberland College. An active participant from the beginning, Valerie has found the project invaluable in supporting her theoretical education.
She said: “I love working on the building, especially the roof work. I have had so much fun, and the women are great. It’s a really relaxed and comfortable environment on-site, and I’m not frightened of making mistakes when I’m there, as opposed to when I’m at college.
“I’ve had health and safety training and a skills with tools course with the Women’s Workshop, and I have really been given a boost to my confidence, so much so that the project gave me the boost I needed to apply to Northumberland College to enrol on my course.”
If you want to get involved but can’t make a full weekend, or want to discuss any other aspect of the project, please phone Hala Zaluczkowska on (01668) 219879 or email firstname.lastname@example.org