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Programme to boost women’s work skills

Rita Jones takes part in the a Transformational Support Services Programme at the Women’s Resource Centre. Pictured with Elaine Butterfield, the WRC executive director (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A group of women are better equipped for the world of work after they took part in a programme designed to boost their skills and self-esteem.

The group was the first to take part in the Transformational Support Services programme, run by the Women’s Resource Centre.

Rita Jones, 38, was among seven who took part in the course and said one of the biggest benefits was improved confidence.

She added: “I believe in myself, I know I have a lot to offer.

“Also, when it comes to dealing with life and how you manage your finances – I learned a lot from the debt management class.”

Ms Jones said that career-building workshops included learning new workplace skills, as well as role playing exercises for interviews and classes on how to be a good employee.

She also took an eight-week entrepreneurship course run by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation because of her involvement in the WRC programme.

The mother of one added that she became certified by Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, a child sexual abuse prevention charity and took CPR training.

Ms Jones said: “I had a business in mind … a children’s plaza with a water park, a play area, a clothing store, nursery all in one – somewhere children go and it’s just for them, right down to the restaurant.

“But with Covid around, I have to make some changes with my business ideas.

“That’s why I took the BEDC course to gain the tools as an all-rounder entrepreneur instead of just having one idea.”

Other highlights of the programme for Ms Jones, from Sandys, included a women’s empowerment panel talk at the US Consulate.

She said: “That was really nice, just to see so many different powerful women that are here to uplift women.

“I come from a different world, so when I got to see that it’s really women that stand up for women and are out here trying to better ourselves and work together to build each other up, it was really amazing to see.”

Ms Jones added: “I feel like it’s been a really good year.

“I’m full of knowledge and looking forward to getting a mentor and getting back out there and working, then hopefully owning a business one day.”

Elaine Butterfield, the WRC executive director, added that the team involved in running the programme was “very impressed” with Ms Jones.

She said: “We are confident that she is ripe and ready for employment as far as her talents and skills are concerned but we also believe that she is now better able to manage her life challenges and issues.”

Ms Butterfield said a tailored approach to the scheme meant that each of the women taking part received the help that suited their circumstances – for example, some were working with the Adult Education School towards their GED.

She added: “Out of the ten women who initially started out we still have seven who are participating.

“We feel very comfortable that they will be ready for employment once the programme finishes for them.”

She added that the women supported each other throughout the programme and built friendships “that they might not otherwise have had”.

Ms Butterfield said that the coronavirus pandemic brought additional challenges for the programme, including the delay of a mentorship component.

But she added that HSBC, which sponsored the scheme with $90,000, had promised to make sure it was held later.

Ms Butterfield said that the course was likely to run into the new year because of the impact of Covid-19.

She added: “We can assure any potential employer that the women who have participated in this programme have had very well rounded life skills, job skills and educational skills training and support so that they can not just perform technically on their jobs but emotionally as well.

“These women are women who want to perform better in life, in every aspect of their lives and we want employers to know they will also have the support that they need in order to be excellent employees.”

The programme will also run in the Transformational Living Centre for Families – being developed in Pembroke by Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda and the WRC – when it opens in 2021.

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Published December 15, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 15, 2020 at 9:38 am)

Programme to boost women’s work skills

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