Polish get voice on radio

POLISH immigrants frustrated at being seen purely as factory workers in Britain are finding new ways of breaking the stereotypes which have seen them fill mostly low-paid jobs.

POLISH immigrants frustrated at being seen purely as factory workers in Britain are finding new ways of breaking the stereotypes which have seen them fill mostly low-paid jobs.

Three recent arrivals who are forging new careers in the media are helping Ipswich's Polish community to make the most of their lives in the UK.

The trio are all well-educated professionals who found themselves working in poorly paid jobs when they arrived in Ipswich.

One is a journalist, another a fashion curator and the third a social worker but when they arrived in England the only work they could get was as a kitchen hand, a food packer and a carer.

Barbara Bieniek, Arek Tylza and Gosia Szafranska have launched two radio shows on Ipswich Community Radio to spread the message about getting to grips with life in England, with advice ranging from how to set up a bank account to how to have your diploma from back home recognised in the UK.

Ms Bieniek's Polish Hour programme, which she presents with fellow Pole Tomasz Spyrka and airs on Fridays between 1pm and 2pm, has been on air for a year. It has now been joined by Veespa, a show for the Poles who have made new lives in the Ipswich area, which airs on Sundays between 3pm and 4pm.

Most Read

Mr Tyla, a 32-year-old who has been in England for three years, said: “We started doing interviews with people who live here, asking them if they want to go back or stay over here and what problems they have.

“We want to show people the opportunities of being here. Some people don't speak English very well, some people don't know where to go for advice. So we're helping them.

“I used to pack food in a factory. Now I'm a support worker with autistic children. That's more satisfying. I used to work as a journalist in Poland for a few years and I'd like to do that more.”

Twenty-nine-year-old Miss Szafranska, from Wrclaw in south west Poland, added: “We're aware that when people come here it might be a bit confusing in the beginning. When I first came here I was working in a care home, it wasn't satisfying at all.”

Ms Bieniek, a 45-year-old who lives in Campsea Ashe, is still battling to get a job which matches her work as a fashion and art curator in Poland but she said her radio show was an escape from her work as a domestic aid.

“I try to talk about Polish people who are succeeding in England because it gives hope to others.”

Is enough done to overcome the stereotype of Polish workers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk