Onpartu Cohort: 2017
Mentor: Paulina Polak
Education: Masters in Environmental Sciences
Back in 2016 you may just have been served by Joanna at a London retail shop and not realised that the person assisting you had a master’s degree in science and 11 years of experience in administration, including with EU funding, data capture and geographic information systems. Joanna looks back with positivity at this period in her life when she first moved to the UK from Poland, crediting it for her new customer service and communication skills and knowledge of the UK business environment. She was doing this for a basic salary, however, which was not being reviewed, and working late hours with no promotion in sight. Not satisfied with her job and without a clue as to how to kick-start a change in her situation, Joanna could not have been happier when she came across Onpartu in one of the Polish community websites and enrolled herself immediately.
During the Onpartu workshops Joanna says that she was given a lot of practical information and valuable tools, but that most important for her was the opportunity to increase her confidence and to meet inspirational people; “I saw that they were just ordinary people, but hard-working and persistent,” say she. Joanna’s mentor’s support, advice and contagious energy motivated her and helped her to believe that she is a valuable employee in the job market, that her skills are sought for and can add value to companies in the UK. She learned how important professional networking is and how to expand it. What did Joanna not expect to benefit from? “Speaking in English,” - she responds - “I broadened my professional vocabulary and learnt powerful expressions, which helped me to speak fluently about my experience, qualifications and achievements.” The turning point for Joanna was the mock interview session, which prepared her confidence and enthusiasm with perfect timing.
Only a few months later Joanna performed well at the real thing and got an
administrative job in a thriving company, which sees her native language as a valuable asset.
In her new role Joanna has responsible duties, and her efforts are recognised. She feels fulfilled and has time and energy to achieve her professional and personal goals.