UK Discovered - Top Tips from an Aussie Sonographer in London
I first came to the UK in May 2006 after having graduated two years prior from QUT in Brisbane. My first job had taken me to Townsville, my second to Mt Isa, giving me the necessary experience in CT, Cath Lab and General Radiography to confidently embark on my UK adventure. I travelled with my sister, also a Radiographer and our first port of call was London.
I signed up with several agencies and quickly got down to work. My first assignment was in London followed by a few months in Gloucester. After this, I felt sufficiently settled into how Radiography works in the UK, and confident that my Aussie training had given me all the necessary tools to cope in what was sometimes quite fast paced environments.
Working in the UK can be challenging. With over 70 million people and an economy not as buoyant as native Australia, the NHS has been under increased pressure for sometime. Whist this can make working conditions more challenging, it does offer some real positives to the Aussie Radiographer. Namely you get to use all your skills in a working environment where you’re really needed and valued. Most managers are very thankful to see you when you commence a new locum contract, and most of the staff are extremely accommodating and friendly.
Alternative locations in the UK
Working outside London is noticeably different to working in the UK’s capital. For one, you don’t hear as many Aussie accents. You might think this a bad thing, but I can assure you it makes for a more unique and fun experience. On the whole, you’re treated with a lot of curiosity in locum assignments outside London. Everyone wants to know about Australia and where you come from. Everyone wants to take you to their local pub and introduce you to their friends. It makes for a great UK experience and you meet lots of interesting people. A great example of this is Aberdeen. A fantastic assignment of mine with amazing people and varied, challenging work. Probably the greatest challenge however during my time there was understand the Aberdonian accent, but this just made for a more memorable assignment.
It’s now October 2014 and thanks to my dual EU citizenship I've been able to come back time and time again. My locum assignments have included; London, Nottingham, Scotland, Gloucester, Dublin, Galway & Northern Ireland. I'm now a Sonographer after completing my post grad in Perth a few years ago. Locum Radiography & Sonography jobs are in abundance in the UK so even if you only have just completed your PDY year, there are jobs here for you!
I love the UK and all it offers. London is the Rome of today. Rich in culture, history and with people living here from all countries of the Globe.
If you’re a Radiographer or Sonographer and thinking of doing a UK trip, I’ve comprised some of my top tips below.
My Top Tips
1. Don't get caught in the London trap! - London is fantastic and you must put aside a few months to work and live here. Maybe do it last as if you do it first you’ll want to stay. It would be a huge shame if you didn’t get to see the real UK. The UK I have discovered and love.
2. Form a good working relationship with your agent - These guys hold the key to all the jobs in the UK and at the end of the day will pay more to locums who show loyalty to their company as well. The key is to choose the right agent to work with.
3. Do the full 2 years - Too many Aussie and Kiwis go back after 1 year when you have two years on the Tier 5 visa. You’ll regret it later if you don’t use the whole 2 years. Year 1 is about settling in but year 2 is when you can enjoy life here while feeling more settled.
4. Try and work in all four corners of the UK. The UK landscape can change very quickly. There’s some incredible areas that have remained largely unchanged over time. Yorkshire is stunning for example and the Cornish coast in the south west is worth considering for an assignment.
5. Use agencies referral bonuses for travel - Most of us come over and meet lots of fellow locums. Use your agencies referral scheme to earn commission to go towards travel. I was able to fund whole holidays by doing this.
If you'd like any advice on locuming in the UK you can contact me directly at [email protected] - I now work for this agency as part of their Quality Control team. You can check out their jobs here! Make your travelling dreams a reality, get in touch!
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