As the new school year starts, women across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to head back into the “classroom”.
To make it easier to find a course, the Women’s Centres Regional Partnership (WCRP) have launched a new website listing more than 300 classes – many of which are free, flexible and offer childcare.
The site, www.wcrpeducation.org.uk, highlights a huge range of courses including ICT, History, GCSE English and maths, foreign languages and accounting/book-keeping. There is also a fantastic choice of non-academic courses such as photography, homeopathy, exercise classes, crocheting and sewing, and personal development programmes. There are more than 3,000 places available for women to get involved.
“For many women, taking a course can be the first step to a new future and it gives them the chance to develop skills, boost their self-esteem and improve their lives,” explained Margaret Logue, Chairperson of the WCRP.
“The courses are all flexible and because they take place in the Women’s Centres/Organisations around Northern Ireland they have a welcoming atmosphere providing a great environment that encourages women to participate. One of the key issues that prevent women from attending a course is lack of childcare and we have added a facility to this website so women can search for a course that also offers childcare,” she added.
The provision of a range of education and training options, offering both accredited and non-accredited courses, is one of the recommendations made in the seminal report by Dr Helen McLaughlin – Women Living in Disadvantaged Communities: Barriers to Participation.
This report found that many women would not return to education because they had limited qualifications, skills and experience and an attendant lack of confidence. It found that education was often the first step in the journey into employment.
“This report provided us with a greater understanding of how women from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds were prevented from playing a greater role in society by the many barriers placed in their paths. It’s essential that we take action to remove these barriers so that women can participate equally in education, training, work and public and political life. The launch of this new website will make it easier for women to access information about courses which can support to them take this first step,” said Patricia Haren, WCRP Director.
Copies of the Barriers Report can be obtained from WCRP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org