Story: Saleema Imam
June 23rd saw the fourth Annual General Meeting of South Yorkshire Women's Development Trust. The Trust's Women In Non-Traditional Trades and Technologies project (WINTT) is based in The Women's Construction Centre at 21 Buckenham Street.
The AGM marked the retirement of former manager of WINTT Ros Wollen, Jo Goodison (Tradeswomen South Yorkshire) and Chair of SYWDT Jane Thomas. It also celebrated the successful completion of the Foundation Course in Building Craft Occupations by six young women, with the presentation of certificates and Women's Construction Centre 'hoodies' to each of them.
Useful new skills
I met up with Melanie, Jodie, Ruth, Danielle, Shanice and Lynsey at the Construction Centre. For them the course is just the beginning. Single mum Lynsey has already launched into gutting, re-plastering and tiling her own bathroom. While Jodie, having also completed a carpentry course, is beginning an apprenticeship. With the help of tutor and course organiser Julie Blacker, they are all involved in creating the hard landscaping for a community garden adjacent to the Centre. None of them want their time at WINTT to end. "We really enjoy these two days a week," they said, "We've made new friends and learnt loads of useful new skills."
Shabana Murtaza, outreach worker for WINTT, is working with Sheffield City Council Regeneration Team, running workshops at the Wensley Community Centre offering introductory courses in tiling, plastering, painting and decorating courses, as well as other exciting projects within the community.
Though based in Burngreave, a much expanded WINTT now also offers courses throughout the former coalfield areas in South Yorkshire. These often include hands-on work placements within local community groups completing painting, decorating , plastering, tiling etc. The permanent staff has now increased to five with several other freelance workers. The Centre also runs evening, weekend and daytime classes at affordable rates. To find out more about what's on offer at the Women's Construction Centre contact 0114 273 7046.
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