Fiona Boumelhem, Deputy Team Manager of the Multi-Agency Support Team at Ealing Council, London shares her story about her move from Australia. Read her interview below:
When did you move to London and how are you finding life in the UK so far?
I came to London in February 2016 and I really like it. London is a very beautiful city and there is always something to see. I feel really comfortable here. My colleagues are really friendly and helpful. I’m working five days a week, so I have a good work-life balance. I have already been travelling quite a lot and am constantly booking more holidays; living in the UK makes travelling so much easier. I do miss my family, but the professional and personal experience I am getting here is invaluable.
Have you found professional practices here to be different to back home?
In Australia I worked in two different jurisdictions where there were different processes and legislation to be taken into consideration. So I knew I could transfer my skills in the UK and be able to work in a different way. I have previous experience and knowledge of HR processes and I understand child protection, so in these respects I felt a little more prepared.
Now that I work in London, I am still getting to know the different processes. I’m really happy with the team; they are very supportive and provided me with great training. If I didn’t know something at the beginning everyone was quick to help.
Why did you decide to move to the UK?
I was thinking of living in the UK years ago when I was a lot younger, but never really made it happen at the time. Mike, my HCL consultant approached me on LinkedIn. I had been in my role for a while and decided I needed a professional challenge and a new experience. I just wanted to try something new. The whole process was quite quick.
The opportunity to travel was definitely a big selling point. I love travelling and living in London gives me easy access to Europe.
Did you encounter any challenges during your relocation?
I had never visited the UK so making the move to London was an extremely frightening adventure. Finding accommodation was a bit difficult. My estate agency hadn’t had any experience with a tenant based in another country, so they had to do lots of reference checks. However, everyone was really helpful and it worked out well in the end.
Sorting out everything around my move was challenging also because of the huge time difference. I was quite fortunate to have Mike from HCL by my side and it definitely made settling in a lot easier. He was reassuring and continually provided me with information; so I was regularly informed about what the expectations were during the process of job application, Skype interview, references, HCPC registration, visa application and other practical things such as finding housing, bank account and phone. Mike liaised with my future employer at the time and the estate agency.
I believe that my move to the UK would not have been as smooth or successful if I didn’t have the support and guidance from Mike. He helped make my dream to work as a social worker in the UK come true, and I couldn’t be happier!
Would you advise other Australian social workers to come and work here?
I would definitely recommend other social workers to come to the UK. I have already referred a few of my friends and one of them will be arriving shortly.
Interested in working in the UK?
Here at HCL Social Care, we understand moving to a new country can be challenging. We support candidates, like Fiona, every step of the way. We have helped hundreds of foreign social workers find their dream permanent roles in the UK. You can be next. Upload your CV or give us a call on +4420 7861 8777 (extension 3).