Our scholarships have been awarded to 90 dancers. Meet our scholarship holders who have completed their individual career plans.
I had no difficulty deciding to retrain for another profession – I was 42 years old and knew I would not be able to dance much longer. At the end of my stint with the Muzyczny Theatre in Poznań, I began to realise that health issues would slowly but inevitably prevent me from dancing at the highest level.
Initially, I began to seek new opportunities and took first steps towards becoming a professional driver. I completed several courses, and it turned out I developed a real knack for the profession, because I simply liked driving. I resolved to become a professional driver. In the meantime, I had also learned about the new scholarship programme of the Institute of Music and Dance. Aided by my career counsellor, I filled out an application and received funding to cover my subsequent professional training. I passed each exam flying colours and gained a range of qualifications. I learned to drive an 18-m vehicle. I also trained to drive buses and tank trucks, which means I am thoroughly prepared for the new job. On top of that, I completed a first aid training, which I think should be mandatory for anyone to enable them to help others when needed.
In the course of the application process, I was positively surprised by my counsellor’s approach – she was genuinely interested with my professional and personal background. It was all of great importance for me when choosing my prospective career. Providing for the family and securing my near and dear is my priority, and it helped me improve my learning curve. The counsellor not only helped me to fill out the scholarship application form but also suggested alternative career opportunities. Our conversations kept me motivated; I am happy I was able to benefit from the help provided by the Institute and the staffers who oversaw the project. They were true pros through and through . Also upon my counsellor’s suggestion, I began to learn German. I am now planning to continue to study the language in order to help me work in Berlin on weekdays, and spend weekends with my family in Poznań.
As of now, I am due for an orthopaedic operation, following which I am hoping to start working as a professional driver in Poland or Germany. Luckily, in my new profession it is the work that seeks out people, and not the other way round. Thus, I think I will not face great trouble looking for employment. I am sure I will be able to provide for my family. I am also convinced that the job will bring me much joy, as did my international tours with the theatre: not only will I like it but I will also get paid. And I know I have what it takes to do it right.
Each of us is different, but I would advise dancers to plan ahead and pursue new qualifications as quick as they can. They should make a good use of the transition programme rather than keep pondering over vague alternatives. The world is changing, and we have to adapt to the fact.
Radosław Lak, Poznań, June 2017