Interview with Aleksandra Lesiak, Onpartner 2015
What made you apply for Onpartu?
A.L. - The Onpartu programme focuses on how to behave in professional environments in general, how to present yourself in interviews, and ways to improve your CV. I had been researching on the internet for some kind of development course, and when I came across Onpartu, I realised it was very suitable for my needs, so I decided to apply.
What was your favourite part of this programme?
A.L. - I actually enjoyed all sessions, especially the way they were structured. I really liked all the motivational speakers too. Together with the knowledge-based parts, I enjoyed the practical sessions, like when we did the practice interviews. It was useful to be asked the kind of questions I would be asked in an actual interview, and I valued this experience as it was like a real interview experience for me.
How has participating in this programme impacted your personal and professional development?
A.L. - During Onpartu, I was thinking of changing my job. But as the programme lasted several months, during this time, my company started a new initiative to help employees make progress within the company – so I stopped thinking of applying to other jobs. The programme gave me confidence to approach my boss to address some issues that we needed resolve, which I was previously too shy to do.
I think I was also a bit of a beginner when it came to CVs – before joining the programme, my CV was three pages long, and had a lot of information that employers don’t want to read about. And now it’s a lot better! I also know how to respond to job advertisements properly, and how to write good cover letters.
Would you recommend this programme to other people? Why?
A.L. - Yes, I would recommend this programme to other people. In fact, I think that if I had been able to participate in Onpartu a couple of years ago, when I first came to the UK, it would have helped me find a good job sooner. I’m sure that if I had participated in this programme back then, I would have been in a better position today. So I would definitely recommend this programme to women who are feeling stuck. For example, I was a nanny for five years, but I have a scientific degree, and wanted to work in that area, which is what I am doing now.
What advice would you give to women from Central and Eastern Europe?
A.L. - I would advise them to spend proper time on thinking what they want to do. If they already know, then they should focus on it, and take from the Onpartu programme everything that is helpful for them. Also spend some time on your professional development at home, like working on your CV, and combine this with other development work that you do as part of Onpartu.
What was the least expected positive outcome of going through the programme?
A.L. - I actually didn’t think we would stay in touch with each other. I did expect the Onpartu organisers and managers to keep in touch, but I didn’t think I would become friends with the girls. Now I can say that they are my friends. Even though I haven’t managed to keep in touch with everybody, some of them are definitely my good friends now.
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