I am not the only foreigner abroad
Gertruda Gudaite qualified as a lawyer and worked for the Ministry of Justice in Lithuania. In 2009, she moved to the UK and decided to pursue a different career. She joined Onpartu in 2015 and since the programme's completion she has launched her business.
What made you apply for Onpartu? At the time I saw an article in a Lithuanian magazine saying there was a programme for underemployed women from Central and Eastern Europe seeking for better career prospects, I was just about to be back on the labour market trying to find myself a decent job. Knowing that I had experienced difficulties cracking job interviews before, I decided to take the opportunity to improve my skills required to find a job (e.g. CV writing, job interview, etc.) and find some new social contacts.
What was your favourite part of this programme?
I enjoyed weekend sessions (presentations and inspirational speeches) most. Not only did I learn how to improve my CV, how to prepare for a job interview (and had a chance to practice it), how to do networking, how to make use of social networks for job hunt, but also met inspirational people and enjoyed listening to their success stories.
How has participating in this programme impacted your personal and professional development?
The greatest impact was on my personal development because I gained more confidence in myself. Being amongst others and realising that I am not the only foreigner abroad (that there are others just like me who managed achieving success in their career) boosted my confidence. This resulted in building up enough courage to pursue my dreams and set up a business myself rather than go and work for someone else. I am currently building a furniture making business.
Would you recommend this programme to other people? Why?
That is a definite yes. I would recommend this programme to women who had acquired qualifications in their home country but had never had a chance to be employed in accordance with their qualifications in the UK or did not date to apply for such job. Whether they are looking for someone to assist them with their CV, practice interview skills or get to know how British organisations work or how to do networking, they should apply for the programme. Getting to know more people like you and being able to work closely with your buddies is not the least.
What advice would you give to women from Central and Eastern Europe?
Little would it mean if I encouraged them to have more confidence. I am not entirely sure whether I would have had this confidence if not for the opportunity to be part of Onpartu. Hence, for those who don’t feel confident in finding a job in the UK according to their qualifications, I would recommend having a go on Onpartu. Rest assured you will improve your CV, feel more confident at job interviews and find new buddies.
What was the least expected positive outcome of going through the programme? Frankly speaking, before joining the programme I was expecting to benefit from networking most. However, it was a pleasant and eye-opening surprise for me to realise I had been writing my CV in a wrong manner all my life which was not always attractive to a potential employer. The improved version of my CV is something I am proud of and feel confident I am a master in CV writing now.