Andrzej (Poland) shares his own story : Disability is no barrier to work
Andrzej used to have a secure, well-paid job in the shipyards of Gdynia, Poland until he became disabled. Five years of unemployment followed, then he took part in a job-seeking course backed by the European Social Fund – upon completion, he only needed a day to find work!
The four-day course that Andrzej enrolled on was specifically tailored to the needs of disabled people. It offered advice on job-hunting, writing a CV and applying for work. The local authority even provided a minibus to pick Andrzej from home each day.
For 12 years he had worked in the shipyards, first as a carpenter, then as a painter. However, in 2001 he underwent a hip-replacement operation that went wrong. A nerve was cut, leaving Andrzej unable to walk without the use of crutches. Unable to return to work, he was eventually dismissed by his employer and resigned himself to a life on disability benefits.
Change of luck
“I didn’t think I would ever find work, because of my disability,” he explains. Then one day he noticed a poster on a bus advertising work opportunities for partially disabled people. “I went straight to the job centre and registered as unemployed. Two days later they told me about the training scheme,” adds Andrzej.
Taking the ESF-backed training sessions in 2006 certainly changed his luck – and his life. “After the course it took me just one day to find a job,” declares Andrzej proudly. “At the interview, I showed them I really wanted it.”
A local security firm took him on and trained him to use a computer. Andrzej says he felt “100 % better” after getting the job. “It’s logical that being out of work doesn’t make you feel good,” he points out. “Some people just get drunk, but I’m not like that. The course has given me confidence that, despite my disability, I know what I need to do to get a job.”
Credit : European funds