In a previous article, we told you all about the European job mobility initiative for over 30s, led by the local EURES team in the Lower Silesia Region of Poland. Since then the project has helped 26 jobseekers find employment in Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic. We talked to one participant, Pawel Frydlewicz, to find out about his personal experience with EURES.
How did you encounter the EURES project?
When I was waiting in my local labour office to meet a counsellor, I was browsing through some job advertisements and I noticed a job offer abroad, advertised by EURES. It sounded really interesting to me. I got even more interested when I found some brochures and leaflets on how to find a job outside Poland, about work safety, working conditions, etc. I wanted to broaden my knowledge, so I checked the EURES portal. I was lucky that on the very first page there was a banner about a project. It was the kind of project that was just meant for me!
What motivated you to go searching for a job opportunity abroad?
It is hard to say what motivated me back then to search for job abroad. Actually, there were many factors, mainly my discouraging, unsuccessful attempts to find a job in Poland. I wanted to find a job which would value my years of experience and my skills, as well as provide a decent pension contribution and health insurance.
What’s your new job?
For over nine months I have been working in the Czech Republic for Skoda Auto, a job which I gained through the Employment Agency. I have a one-year contract with automatic renewal for another year. Since the beginning I have been working in the Logistics Department and I’m really satisfied with this job.
What was your previous job back in Poland?
I used to work in quality control. A very intensive job, seven days a week, three shifts, constant learning, gaining a lot of new knowledge and skills. That was until one day the company's owners sold the business and laid-off the majority of their employees. For me, it turned out to be beneficial, although I didn’t realise it then. At the time it was very hard, losing a job, having to begin another stage of life and start looking for a job.
Can you tell us how you felt about the whole EURES process and how you were assisted?
At the beginning, I felt that I would not be able to work abroad by myself. The idea of it scared me. Such simple activities seemed so overwhelming. How would I find the right offer, translate my CV into a foreign language, interview in a foreign language? What about the departure and all the related preparation: finding accommodation, costs to be paid until the first salary, and so on. I imagined that I would be alone with all of this.
But that wasn’t the case at all! Thanks to my participation in the project, I had my CV translated, I went on a language course provided by the project and I received constant care from the Project Advisers, who were ready to help at any time, whether it was an issue with my employer, work or accommodation. And that means a lot, knowing that you are not left alone.
What challenges did you have to face in the beginning?
Working in logistics was a new thing for me. Preparing a particular batch of parts on each bench has the same rules, but each type of car has its own specificities that you need to know. Soon, I learned how to make orders for the necessary parts. I had autonomy in the workplace and hence a great responsibility for what I did and how I did it.
Soon my initial fear was gone and the job satisfaction came. Computer literacy was very helpful. Even the language was not as difficult as it seemed at first. Many Czech words are understandable, but you don’t know a word, English is always helpful!
Do you have any advice for others considering a EURES project?
When I was looking for a job in Poland, I was struggling with difficulties which for me were incomprehensible. It seemed to me that at one point I was standing in front of a glass wall that I couldn’t get through.
I wanted to work, I was willing to, I had a lot of knowledge and abilities, but I did not want to work for a salary that denied human dignity. I realised that my only chance was working abroad.
Now I am working normally, living normally, even coming to Poland every week. All the difficulties that appeared at first – a new language, new work, living in another country, the different mentality of the people, the multi-cultural environment, all of this can be frightening at first, but with time it becomes an interesting experience.
There is so much you can learn from others when you are open to new experiences. It was definitely worth contacting EURES. Today I can say YES to EURES!
Pawel’s story can also be your story. If you are a job seeker in your 30s and reside in the Lower Silesia region, the regional EURES office is there to provide you with professional support. Contact a EURES Adviser to kick-start your professional career abroad.
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