Case studies

Layla (not her real name)


Layla worked as a registered nurse in hospital for five years and also taught student nurses. On being granted refugee status in 2015, she joined the Building Bridges programme, attended specialist employment and professional development training as well as career guidance. With this support she was able to start work in a Health care support work role in a large hospital Trust and became the breadwinner in her family. After promotion Layla was able to negotiate study leave to attend the Building Bridges OET classes. Within 9 months she passed the OET exam.

Building Bridges advocated with the NMC for assessment of Layla’s documentation in relation. On NMC acceptance of these documents, Building Bridges funded Layla to sit the two NMC registration exams which she passed within 3 months of each other. Layla is now a registered nurse, on the Accelerator programme into an band 6 role.

Fatema Masoud


After graduating with a Pharmacy degree, Fatema worked for two years in a hospital pharmacy and a further two years in a community pharmacy in Damascus, Syria. Forced to leave her country in 2015, she eventually joined the Building Bridges programme in 2017. Fatema attended careers guidance sessions and employability training, as well as the weekly Building Bridges OET class for pharmacists. At the same time Fatema worked as a Pharmacy Assistant and this introduced her to the communication skills and clinical skills required in the UK.

Fatema passed OET in June 2021 and successfully applied to the General Pharmaceutical Council. With their confirmation Fatema then started the mandatory year-long Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP) with a grant from Building Bridges. During this demanding course she continued to work in the pharmacy. Fatema is looking forward to passing her OSPAP exams in 2022 and starting as a trainee Pharmacist in Autumn.

Khusshal Safi


With eleven years clinical experience in ENT and Surgery from Afghanistan, Khusshal is an accomplished doctor. Seeking refuge in the UK in 2012, Khusshal had to wait a gruelling eight years to be allowed to work. Joining Building Bridges in 2020, he was supported to take up work as a Covid vaccinator in Primary care and was further trained in phlebotomy and NHS Health Checks. With continued careers guidance from RAGU he was accepted for a Health Care Assistant role in a busy west London GP Practice where he works today and takes part in a weekly Building Bridges OET class.

Yakob Eyassu


Yakob graduated in 2009 with a degree in Biomedical Science from Eritrea. He started work in the National Health Laboratories in Asmara, gaining experience in clinical chemistry and microbiology. Yakob took up a lecturing post at Orotta School of Medicine, however in 2015 he was forced to flee his country. After two years in Greece he finally settled in the UK.

Initially based in Hull, Yakob volunteered for a programme supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Moving to London he joined Building Bridges in 2019 and entered the Building Bridges IELTS class. Yakob also attended a suite of employability trainings and worked with his careers adviser to prepare for a hospital Trust placement. After a lengthy postponement due to the pandemic, Yakob began a placement in Haematology at St Thomas’ Hospital. On successful completion, RAGU supported Yakob into a fixed-term, Band 3 role as a medical laboratory assistant. This was made permanent in 2021. In March 2022 he successfully moved into a Band 4 Associate Practitioner role at Guys Hospital.

Alexandra Rueda


In Equador Alexandra worked for two years as a registered Dentist following graduation. Building Bridges first met her in 2011; at that time with low level English language but high levels of motivation. She took on board careers guidance: went to college to study English and worked in an office. Eight years later in 2019 she re-joined the programme. By now she was a busy mother, but determined to pursue her career. Alexandra joined the Building Bridges IELTS class and she also attended lots of coaching and employment support which helped to find a trainee dental nurse position where she started Dental Nurse training, funded by Building Bridges. In early 2021 Alexandra passed her Dental nurse exams gaining General Dental Council (GDC) registration.

Continuing to work as a Dental Nurse and with Building Bridges support Alexandra’s next step has been to apply to become a registered Dental Hygienist. This is a long process while the GDC validate her previous training. Building Bridges will continue to support Alexandra through this process and then onwards to take the arduous GDC exams in order to become a registered dentist once again.

Albab Chowdhury


Albab, a newly trained doctor with an internship and one years clinical experience in primary care, was forced to leave Bangladesh. He joined the Building Bridges programme in 2016. Roll forward six years and in March 2022, Albab is working as a GMC registered doctor at Newham University Hospital under the CAPS scheme (Clinical Apprenticeship Programme). It’s been a long journey: one in which Albab has had consistent support from all Building Bridges partners to reach his goal.

In 2016 Albab joined the Glowing Results IELTS class and then the OET class Ge also participated fully in RAGU’s Employability programme and started a work placement as a Health Care Assistant in an East London GP practice in 2018 receiving fantastic support from colleagues, staying there for three years as he progressed. On passing the OET exam in 2019, Albab joined the Refugee Council’s GP-led Refugee Doctors’ Professional group and applying the skills he learnt there and in the work place to pass PLAB 1 exam. In March 2021 Building Bridges supported Albab’s successful selection to the Medical Support Worker programme led by Barts Trust. This valuable Band 6 hospital-based role complemented the ongoing support from Refugee Council’s, so that Albab finally passed the PLAB 2 exam in 2021 and applied for GMC registration. In March 2022 the final piece of the puzzle fell into place: Albab was accepted into the CAPS post, his first medical post in the UK.

Salma Younus


Salma had a difficult time after her arrival in the UK in 2014. She only managed to join Building Bridges in 2019. At the beginning her confidence was low, however with the support of Building Bridges advisors, Salma started planning her return to practising medicine. Participating in careers guidance sessions and numerous trainings to orient her to working in the NHS, she was helped into a work placement as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) in Primary care. By then Salma was also engaged in the free Building Bridges OET classes.

Salma’s confidence steadily grew. Passing the OET exam she became an active member of the Professional Development Group where she was assisted with both the PLAB exams and to prepare for the transition to medical practice in the UK. While preparing for the PLAB 2 exam and keen to build on her HCA experience, Salma was helped by Building Bridges to apply for a Medical Support Worker’s post in Newham Hospital in March 2021. This pilot, run by Barts Health Trust, offered a unique opportunity to refugee doctors to familiarise with NHS hospital systems and procedures, working in a medical assisting role for 6 months, leading to a Clinical Apprenticeship Placement (CAPS) post. Upon passing the PLAB 2 exam and gaining GMC registration, Salma’s first UK job as a fully licensed doctor started in November 2021 at Newham.