Step by step… to gain new qualifications

If we are only determined, we can make our professional dreams come true and be successful. Jolanta Tomalak found out that this cliche can actually be true. When she gave up a safe but unrewarding position, she didn’t give up. With the support of the project “Gain new professional qualifications!” she completed a tailoring course and began a new professional adventure.

The photograph shows Marcin Jakubowski who is a doctor. A man is wearing a suit and glasses. He has his hair pulled back, and his arms folded across his chest.

dr Marcin Jakubowski,
Vice-president of the Management Board of Vocational Education Centre in Katowice

There have been many discussions about the benefits of improving professional skills for a long time. Despite this, continuous training in our country is still one of the lowest in the European Union. Therefore, we need to educate people, promote training and vocational courses. Especially now with the pandemic labor market turmoil. Employers’ expectations and workforce needs are changing. Each of us should follow these trends and respond to them accordingly.

Vocational Education Centre in Katowice, as a company with nearly one hundred years of tradition in the education sector, has been closely cooperating with employers for many years. We monitor the needs, expectations and barriers that arise in the labor market, and we create our offer based on them. On the one hand, we know that employees with specific professional qualifications (often associated with the right to exercise a profession) are in the greatest demand, and these specialists are really difficult to find. On the other hand, especially for smaller companies and their staff, the high price of such training is often a problem. This is when EU projects come to the rescue.

We targeted 431 residents of the region with our project. Participants were provided with a wide variety of vocational courses. The most popular included welding and transportation services, backhoe loader operating and cutting and sewing. We also used the EU money to equip a locksmith workshop at our Vocational Training Centre in Chorzów. This will enrich our training offer.

Jolanta Tomalak,
project participant

For seventeen years I worked for a small, family-owned construction company. I handled procurement, human resources and payroll issues. A lot of work, a lot of stress. I paid for it with my health. Diagnosis: depression. I decided to leave, although it is was not easy to give up a safe full-time job and the guar antee of a monthly salary. I was afraid of what would happen next.

I was on sick leave for a long time. When I slowly started to regain my joy of life, I found a job in one o f the haberdasher shops in Chorzów. However, I lacked expertise in fabrics and tailoring. I qualified for an EU project that enabled me to take a course in cutting and se wing. In the class I learned about taking measurements, types of fabric and sewing accessories. I also learned the basics o f garment construction and learned how to sew on a machine. This knowledge is very useful to me in my work. Clients are often unfamiliar with tailoring, and I can advise them on fabric choices.

I’m already thinking about my next vocational course. Looking back, I can say that participating in the project was a personal and professional breakthrough for me. I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes it doesn’t make sense to hold on to a job that doesn’t bring you satisfaction and makes you wake up stressed and with a tight stomach every day. Sometimes you have to take a risk in life and start doing what you like and love. Especially since today many institutions can help you retrain. I am the best example.

The photograph shows Jolanta Tomalak. The woman has short, dark hair and she’s wearing glasses. She is standing behind the counter with a tailor's tape measure hanging around her neck. A multitude of complex fabrics are visible behind her.

Project

Gain new professional qualifications!
Beneficiary: Vocational Education Centre in Katowice
Value of the project: ca. PLN 1.8 million
ROP WSL co-financing: ca. PLN 1.6 million
Implementation period: May 2018 – March 2021