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Oct 26, 2000

Women train in non-traditional skills

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A group of women are sharpening their skills over a six-month period to work in a field, which has long been set aside for men. Ann-Marie Williams has the story.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

Today a group of Belizean women stepped outside their traditional space and entered into a different world of work. A skills programme now underway at the Centre for Employment Training promises to equip these women with the necessary non-traditional skills in carpentry and joinery, tool use and maintenance.

This three-year project, jointly funded by IDB and the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Education is co-ordinated by Sumaiya Morris.

Sumaiya Morris, Co-ordinator, Non-Traditional Skills Programme

“The programme’s goal is to provide job skills training to low income women. The expectation is that the programme can contribute a better skilled labour force to the Belizean economy, while at the same time help marginalized women with limited skill with an actual skill.”

And these actual skills were in the past alien to women and this put them at a disadvantage.

Ulric Usher, Craft Instructor, CET

“It’s a stigma that we all have that working in the construction industry is for men. But I could say that the ladies here with the enthusiasm that they show, once the programme continues we will definitely find competent women in the world of work especially in the construction industry.”

And since there is a market for these skills, Usher is optimistic that the construction industry will in the future include a healthy contingent of women.

Ulric Usher

“We will expect the ladies to go out and be like entrepreneurs; starting to solicit small jobs for themselves that they could do something with their leisure time.”

And the women enrolled in the programme are looking at their future in the business as more than just leisure time.

Romie Anthony, Participant

“Anyone can more or less pick up a hammer and nail, but I wanted to be able to apply for a job as a carpenter.”

Dawn Gillett, Participant

“Being one out of four girls, we had to do most of this like sawing and hammering. If I have an idea what to do, then why not learn to do it properly and maybe I could get paid to actually do it.”

Louise Gillette plans on getting paid to do it. She comes from a long line of upholsterers.

Louise Gillett

“The carpentry is as good as doing upholstery because once you get the idea as to how to build a chair you can follow up on your own by putting on the springs on the chair and doing the covering. I had a brother who use to do upholstery work before, so it will be easy for me to do.”

Ann-Marie William for News Five.

Women interested in signing up for training in welding, electrical and automotive can contact the Centre for Employment Training at telephone number 34027.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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