Recent developments at Paluoc Carpentry workshop
Some of the trainees have come quite a long way since joining the workshop as you can see from some of the work being completed in the photo above. They are trying to diversify so that they are not so dependent on school desks and lockers. The problem with those is that, though the need is great, the schools’ ability to buy them is very limited and very seasonal. The schools do not buy ahead of a bulge in numbers, they make do until they have a bit of spare cash and buy them then. This is usually at the start of the school year. Sometimes the work is done and payment only follows much later, or not at all.
The aim is to produce a quality of work that is better than most, so here the inside and outside of the workshop are being given a new coat of paint. You only get one chance to create a first impression. The plan is to turn the ground floor into a showroom and teaching area with the bulk of the carpentry work being carried out upstairs.
Bonaventure is one of Paluoc’s real success stories. He has developed a lot of skills and self-confidence. Here he is making a small table. He helps with the instruction of the newer recruits too.
Kennedy has made good progress despite missing time due to mental health issues at the end of last year and the beginning of this. His work is now improving and he is a candidate for the Government exam at the end of this year. Paluoc is the sort of supportive community that can help a lad like him to succeed.
Here is Stephen with the new band saw. As far as possible we want to move the trainees away from laborious jobs and train them to use more modern equipment. It’s good for the trainees to know how to use a hand saw properly but when the job can be done much more swiftly and generally better by machine then there lies the future. They also need to understand that band saws are very good at removing the fingers of careless users! Health and safety issues can be very real in a carpentry workshop.
Martin is an irregular attender. All of the skills needed to make a competent carpenter take quite a while to learn. Some of the youngsters get lured away by the prospect of quicker money driving a boda-boda bike (that’s a pushbike with a spare seat for a passenger). In the short term it may pay better, and if a motorbike is involved it’s a lot 'sexier' too. He has been told that if his attendance doesn’t improve he’ll no longer be welcome at the workshop. Recruitment and retention are an issue especially since many of the trainees who turn up have failed elsewhere and have no confidence that they can succeed.
Paul is a very good and patient teacher. Those who do stick it out do well, and feel much better about themselves. The trainees get their lunch paid for each day and sometimes they get a small amount of spending money when some of the workshop’s output is sold. It’s not a lot but enough to drink a bottle of soda whilst watching a Premier League game on the TV somewhere.
One of the trainees with some small chairs that have been produced. Behind him is the home of one of the trainees, Stephen, who is also the nightwatchman on site. Without Paluoc he’d have no job, no home.
You've helped us get this far. Thank you!
Painting the inside
The outside now looks very smart!
Bonaventure at work
Stephen with the band saw
Some small chairs for little people