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"EPIC was the perfect environment for me."

The 2nd European Vocational Skills Week takes place from the 20th to 24th November 2017. As National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning, AONTAS is profiling VET Week Ambassadors – by sharing FET learner stories throughout the week. These stories showcase how FET can support people to discover their talent and demonstrate how vocational education and training is a path that learners can take pride in, and pursue, in the knowledge that it is beneficial for their future. To kick off the week Ovidiu shares his experience of the EPIC Programme and how it helped him to find his dream job. EPIC is an employment programme that works with immigrants and refugees to help them integrate into Irish society. Ovidiu’s experience in EPIC helped him find his dream job.

"EPIC was the perfect environment for me. It always brings a smile to my face when I’m thinking of it."

I’m a happy guy from Romania. I love working with people and I’m always full of energy when I’m in the perfect environment. EPIC was the perfect environment for me. It always brings a smile to my face when I think of it.

 

I like to experience new things in life and this was my main reason for coming to Ireland. I have a bachelor’s degree in Economics/Banking and Finance but I have never worked in the area. Before EPIC I had worked in the construction industry as a labourer, and I was also a supervisor in a small construction company. Whilst working in Italy I had lots of different jobs.

I had quit my job before I came to EPIC and I was working on an online business idea which never came to life. I wanted new experiences and in order to do that, I was aware that I had to improve my skills and learn from someone who knew what they were talking about.

"I knew before EPIC that I had skills, but the course gave me wings to fly and the knowledge to identify exactly what I was good at and why."

I heard about EPIC from a friend of mine who also did the course and is working for a well-known company. I knew before EPIC that I had skills, but the course gave me wings to fly and the knowledge to identify exactly what I was good at and why.

I had no clue what kind of job I was looking for and I asked for a career adviser. It helped a lot, it really did. I’m not a guy who can do the same thing for the rest of my life and EPIC gave me the skills to sell myself, to adapt, and to prepare for the interview. I didn’t even have a CV when I started the course because I had no idea how to adapt one for the Irish jobs market, now I have one that I can read every day and feel proud about it. EPIC showed me how to write a cover letter, I also learned lots of new things about Word and Excel in just a couple of days.

The most important thing that helped me was the one on one preparation for interviews with my very own Training and Employment Officer. I had no clue before EPIC that you have to prepare for an interview. The group energy is also important because we created our own group on Whats App and everybody was posting jobs, apps, and other beneficial articles that helped us get a job. 

"I prepared two days for the interview as I was told in EPIC, I got the job the second day."

I began training in a restaurant and very soon after I finished the EPIC course I applied for a job as a waiter and got a job in the first week. The restaurant was recently voted the second best restaurant in Dublin. I was very happy there and it was an amazing experience for me for 3 months.

One of my dreams was to work for a big online company. In the past two years, I had applied 3 times for the job but I never made it further than the second stage. After EPIC, while I was working as a waiter, I applied again with a new tailored CV and cover letter. With my new attitude I managed to pass the second stage this time. I had no previous experience in an office job but the recruiter liked me during my phone interview and told me that I would have a face to face interview with the employer. I prepared two days for the interview as I was told in EPIC and I got the job the second day.

I’m still working for this company, I’m happier than ever, and I hope to be here for as long as I’m happy. My motto is: Attitude is everything. EPIC gives you the right attitude and the perfect mind-set. I think that this should be the first step every immigrant should do when they arrive in Ireland.


If you have an inspiring learner story that you would like to share you can contact Leah Dowdall, Learner Advocacy Officer by email: ldowdall@aontas.com, call 01 406 8220 or you can fill out our short learner story survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LearnerStory.