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Doting dad moves countries for apprenticeship to support daughter

Miroslaw Kowalczuk

A doting father from Poland who moved to Wales to help provide for his young daughter is celebrating getting an apprenticeship and making strides in his dream career after returning to college as a mature learner.

Originally from Turka in eastern Poland, 44-year-old Miroslaw Kowalczuk decided to move to Cardiff in search of a better life for himself and his beloved seven-year-old daughter, Lena, who still currently lives in Poland.

Wanting to develop his skills and improve his job prospects so he could better support her, Miroslaw initially got a job as a sandblaster at Pullman Rail. Through the company, he was put in touch with their adult learning programme, enabling him to take on a level 3 Rail Engineering apprenticeship at Coleg y Cymoedd before securing a full-time role with Pullman as a mechanic.

During his time at college, he received support to help him adjust to education and improve his English language skills, with college staff showing him images to help him learn words as well as taking him out to trains to provide physical explanations for more technical terms.

Despite the language barriers he faced, Miroslaw went on to do well in his qualification and is now looking forward to the next steps in his career.

Miroslaw said: “After leaving school in Poland, I wasn’t qualified enough to reach my career goals and I wanted to receive proper training and expand my skills. I knew that progressing my career in the UK would give me access to better opportunities to support myself and my family. My little girl is my pride and joy and I’m determined to do what I can to give her the best future possible.

“Coleg y Cymoedd has really helped me on my journey. The training I received here made me realise that regardless of your age and language limitations, you can achieve success in your profession if you put your mind to it. All you need is self-motivation, belief in your own abilities, and to push past any mental resistance. I believe limitations often exist only in your own head and can be overcome with perseverance and commitment.

“I am really enjoying my job at Pullman Rail and want to progress here. My future is definitely going to be connected to the railway industry. Now, after obtaining my qualification at Cymoedd, I want to fulfil my dream of gaining as much knowledge and experience as possible in my profession.”