Opportunities through apprenticeships

“Before, I was a nobody. Now the community sees me as an asset.” Abigail, weaving apprentice

Skills, confidence and self-sufficiency – our apprenticeship scheme offers young women who have fallen through the net of education a chance to make their lives a success, to support their families, to give their children better opportunities and to be role models for generations to come.

We launched VocATE in response to a request from the community – and since 2016 have supported 48 young women through training in seamstressing, weaving and hairdressing. Many have gone on to run businesses of their own and taken on new apprentices – creating a virtuous circle of opportunity, income and hope that ripples through a whole community and down the generations.

“This will enable me to achieve my dream of my family and also train other young ladies in the community.”

Lydia, seamstress apprentice


We aim to back at least ten new apprentices every year, focusing on those in our newest hubs. There is an extensive selection process, involving candidates, family and husbands – this is to ensure everyone is fully committed to the three year course. We supply each trainee with equipment, a bike and pay their fees.

During the programme, we monitor their progress and ensure they are well-trained and treated with respect. Towards the end of the scheme, we identify potential entrepreneurs who we can fast track onto our BizATE scheme with a grant to run their own business.

“I am learning this trade to be part of my community, to have a say, not to be a liability to my people, but to be an asset in the community.”

Belinda, seamstress apprentice

We’re proud to count seven young women with disabilities among our VocATE trainees. Girls who were previously written off now have the chance to earn their own living – and challenge the deep stigma around disability.

With a mix of physical and mental disabilities, the scheme gives the women a lifeline and hope for the future – and helps them develop social as well as technical skills. Their confidence grows, along with the respect of their family and the whole community.

Registered charity number: 1149988