Moving away from home to start a new job in a new area is always daunting - but imagine moving over 11,000 miles away from everything you know to start a new life in the UK.
That’s exactly what our new Australian paramedics have done as they have made the East Midlands their home and coming to work for EMAS.
Working predominantly with Charles Sturt University in New South Wales and other universities in the surrounding areas, EMAS has provided a number of opportunities over the last two years for Newly Qualified Paramedics to come work on the frontline in the East Midlands
With over 50 Australian paramedics now at EMAS, we asked them about their experience so far and how they are finding life in the UK.
Maddison Brown, 21 from Bathurst, New South Wales is one of our newest Australian recruits to the service having arrived only two months ago on a wintery day in February.
Leaving behind her exceptionally proud family, Maddison took the leap to join the service, seeing the opportunity as an adventure of a lifetime.
She said: “Leaving home was hard, especially as I am only 21 but my family know how passionate I am about the job that I do and have told me how proud they are of me taking this opportunity.
“As soon as I had my interview with EMAS, it was sold to me. I knew it would be more than just a job, it is like a family.
“I very quickly realised how different it would be in the UK when we were met with snow as we flew into the country and everything being on lockdown.
“It has been slightly strange having to quarantine and not being able to explore my new home, but I am so fortunate to have bonded really well with my cohort and formed close friendships with them already.
“Everyone on station has been so lovely too and with restrictions lifting soon, we know that better days are coming.”
Cameron Roxburgh, 30, from Young in New South Wales has also recently joined us arriving in the UK in February along with Maddison.
He said: “I was lucky enough to gain an insight into EMAS thanks to my former lecturers at university who both used to work for the service before leaving for Australia.
“I am really into my travel and so it sounded like a great opportunity not to be missed. I get to explore a new part of the world, while doing a job that I love.
“Everyone has been so welcoming since we arrived, and it feels like you are part of one big family. Colleagues are always happy to talk to you and answer any questions you may have and that has played a big part in welcoming us to EMAS. It is great to now be out and about meeting the patients and helping them get the best care and solving any issues they have.”
Roseanna Soundy, 23 from the Central Coast of Australia is one of our original cohort of Australians who arrived when the programme kickstarted in 2019.
Living in Leicester, Rose has worked on the frontline for just under two years and is planning on extending her stay indefinitely.
She said: “I was so impressed with EMAS and what the service has to offer that it made my decision to move to the UK so much easier. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career with the service with the range of opportunities and the chance of advancement given.
“The UK is a beautiful country and I was lucky enough to enjoy some of it before the pandemic hit. Whilst I am enjoying being here, I do miss my family, but I am lucky that we have Facetime to keep in touch.
“I don’t see myself moving back to Australia any time soon and I will be looking to extend my visa when the time comes. I am really enjoying myself at EMAS and in the UK so far and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Mitchell Bricklebank, 25 from Nowra in New South Wales arrived in the UK on the 24 January 2020 just before the Coronavirus pandemic. Based in our Leicestershire division, he has been with EMAS for just over a year.
He said: “With the full support of my family, I chose to move to the East Midlands when the opportunity to work as a paramedic presented itself.
“It is safe to say that it was a strange time to move countries as I arrived in the UK around a month before COVID hit.
“Dealing with COVID has been hard but I’ve met a great bunch of people and I wouldn’t change this experience at all. Everyone within the service has been so welcoming to us coming into the UK and joining the green EMAS family, and we’ve been loving the Aussie/British banter.
“I can’t wait to get back to some sort of normality and being able to meet with a bunch of mates and have a beverage in a beer garden, followed by organising our next travel destinations.”
Deborah Tweddle, Ambulance Operations Manager and project lead, said:
"Over the last two years, a tremendous amount of work has gone into this project to make sure it is a success and that our Australian paramedics feel at home in the East Midlands.
"It has been a big leap for our Australian paramedics to travel over 11,000 miles to come and work in another country, leaving their families behind and starting a new life in the region, but one they are only excited to take.
"We are exceptionally proud of everything we have achieved so far and to now have over 50 Australian paramedics is testament to the hard work put in. We not only have our first cohort renewing their visas for another two years, but we also have more Australians asking when our next vacancies will be advertised."
Our next cohort of Australian paramedics are due to arrive imminently and it is hoped that in the future, more Australians will come join EMAS and work in other regions across the area so they can experience the full potential of what the East Midlands has to offer.