"Supporting women's professional and personal development through education and training."
First Steps Women’s Centre (FSWC) has provided a unique service to women in Mid-Ulster for almost 25 years. Based in Dungannon, the Centre provides education and training, support and guidance, along with exceptional opportunities and friendship to women across Mid-Ulster. Up to 300 women per year access training across a wide range of vocational areas which is funded under the European Social Fund (ESF) by Department for the Economy and Department for Communities.
FSWC works tirelessly to remove barriers to learning and inclusion women experience by providing additional services such as Transport, a fantastic onsite Childcare Facility and a Benefit Checker service which is available to both men and women.
As one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing areas, the unique mix of cultures and nationalities in and around Dungannon means that the Centre works with women from over 20 nationalities and employs bilingual staff in our recently refurbished onsite crèche to support participants and their children. This all contributes to the warm, welcoming and friendly atmosphere of the Centre in which everyone is made feel welcome.
As these ladies who attend the Centre summed it up:
“The Women’s Centre is a brilliant welcoming place to meet new friends. Coming to the Women’s Centre makes you feel very good and doing courses, I have learnt so much. Thank you.”
"There is such a lovely feeing when you come through the door. It’s so homely and when I am there I don't want to go home! When I did my first ever course (confidence building) I thought to myself ‘Why have I not been here before?’ and ‘Why was I holding back?’ Everyone is so nice and very friendly. It's so relaxing" Read more testimonials
As a registered charity, FSWC is managed by a Board of Voluntary Directors drawn from all sections of the community. Always eager to develop and grow, FSWC is keen to recruit new directors who are passionate about helping women to develop and fulfil their unrealised potential. Please contact FSWC if you feel you can contribute by becoming a director.
Positively contributing to all aspects of the Community, FSWC employs 17 staff and 18 tutors and offers over 60 training courses per year from Life Skills programmes such as English for Speakers of other languages (ESOL), Improve your English to Wellbeing courses. In 2015/16 the Centre provided one-to-one employment progression support for 50 women to assist them into employment or self-employment as well as work placements.
Since September 2012, FSWC has helped people access over £270,000 in unclaimed benefits that they were due. Annually FSWC hosts a variety of community events including Job Fair days, International Women’s Day Celebration, Christmas Coffee Mornings, Open Days, quiz nights and Volunteer events.
Our training and education subjects include:
Life Skills - Improve your English and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).
Wellbeing Online Programmes - Yoga , Pilates, Building Self Confidence, Relax and Unwind, Food for Though and Living Life to the Full.
Our pass rates are fantastic - between 75% & 100%!
In June 2009 FSWC was the first Women’s Centre in Northern Ireland to attain Investors in People accreditation and later in the same year won the All Ireland Aontas Awards for Adult Learning Organizations.
FSWC was short listed for Irish News 2009 & 2010 Best Place to work – Innovative employer award, runner up in CO3 Awards - Leading in Learning & Development in two categories - Leading people and Leading a smaller organisation.
In February 2011 FSWC attained Silver Iip Status – putting them in the top one percent of recognized Investors in People companies in the UK. The IiP model has been easily integrated into our existing systems and has given an added value to our work, enabling us to look with greater confidence at our future and has helped the Organisation develop a much greater innovative culture. We were able to retain this Status in March 2014.
In March 2011, our student Wilma Graham won the Tyrone Essential Skills Award recognising outstanding achievements in Literacy, Numeracy and ICT learning. In November 2011 FSWC achieved Excellence in People Development from the Mid Ulster Business Awards.
In March 2014 we retained our Iip Silver Status.
In June 2016 we won Lidl Community Works Award.
In 2017 we received a refurbishment grant from the Big Lottery funded Space & Place programme, together with support from the Department of Communities and ASDA , and created a new facility to include our own onsite Creche, separate Computer Suites, Training Rooms and extended Conference Room. Click here to read more.
First Steps Women's Centre courses have a first class, on-site Childcare facility which has a daily capacity of 16 places. We also provide Transport in our 13 seater Mini-Bus.
Benefit Check Service open to both Men and Women, contact Gillian on
Testimonials from women who attended courses at First Steps Women's Centre
For an Application Form for 2020/21 Click Here
FSWC is a legally registered charity with HM Revenue & Customs and also a legal company, registered with Companies House in Belfast.