Tarek Kaddoura, a 25-year-old Palestinian, has embarked on a journey for a brighter future in the United Kingdom, leaving behind a life in the Middle East where he faced limitations on citizenship, property ownership, and career progression.
As part of a program aimed at bringing skilled refugees to the UK, Tarek joined Northwick Park Hospital, reflecting the collaborative efforts between Talented beyond Boundaries and NHS England.
“The Lebanon will always be my home, but there is no future there for me,” expressed Tarek, emphasising the challenges faced in his home country. “I am in charge of my own future now and can go as far as I want.”
Talented beyond Boundaries is actively working with NHS England to establish a supply chain of skilled workers, focusing on individuals like Tarek who bring valuable expertise to the UK healthcare sector. The initiative aims to redefine the narrative around refugees by emphasizing their skills and contributions rather than their status.
Tarek, who arrived in the UK five months ago, is currently employed as a healthcare support (HSW) worker at Northwick Park Hospital. He is determined to pass his exams to become a registered nurse, building on the three years of experience he gained as an emergency nurse in Beirut.
“I spent three years working as an emergency nurse in Beirut, so it has been quite tough having to start over as an HSW, but I take my final exams in the New Year,” Tarek shared. “I am so grateful to be here and luckily have a group of friends living in Kenton who followed the same path as me several years ago. I always wanted to come to the UK, but I do miss my family and the food.”
Northwick Park Hospital has already welcomed four nurses from Lebanon through this initiative. Cindy Marudamuthu, Lead Nurse for Operational and Professional Standards, explained the rigorous recruitment process, highlighting that candidates undergo remote interviews and arrive in the UK not as refugees but as skilled workers with substantial healthcare experience.
“The candidates follow our international recruitment process and are interviewed remotely,” stated Marudamuthu. “They arrive in the UK not as refugees but as skilled workers with vast experience in healthcare. We provide the necessary training, including support in achieving their International English Language certificate and sitting their OSCE exams that allow them to become registered nurses in the UK.”
Upon arrival, these skilled workers initially work as HSWs, collaborating with the clinical team to familiarize themselves with the NHS. Their responsibilities include assisting with patient care tasks, such as feeding and washing patients, taking vital signs, and communicating with patients and their relatives.