MediRecruit and Nick Sneyd, Occupational Therapist Locuming in the UK

Episode 13 is brought to you by MediRecruit, a specialist Allied Health recruitment company that recruits to Allied Health roles throughout Australia, the UK and New Zealand. Directors Danielle Weedon (B.Physio) and Clare Jones (B Occ Thy) interview Nick Sneyd, an Australian Occupational Therapist currently locuming in the UK. 

Speaker You’re listening to Allied Health Podcast, talking all things Allied Health with your hosts, Danielle Weedon, physiotherapist and Clare Jones, occupational therapist.

Danielle Weedon This episode of Allied Health podcast is brought to you by MediRecruit, and we’re exploring, locuming in the UK as an allied health professional.

Clare Jones Yes. It’s Clare Jones here and Danielle Weedon, Directors at MediRecruit. Now a working holiday in the UK is somewhat of an allied health tradition. It’s something both Danielle and I did as younger therapists, and honestly, I can say it was a highlight of my career. There’s currently really high demand for Aussie, Kiwi and South African trained allied health professionals to fill locum jobs right across the UK and here at MediRecruit we not only assist you to find great locum roles in the UK, but we also assist you with all the necessary preparations. And today we’re joined by Nick Sneyd, an Aussie OT who has recently traveled to the UK and is currently working his first locum role at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. Is that right Nick? Thanks for joining us.

Nick Sneyd Thanks for having me. That’s correct. Yeah, I’ve been at St Mary’s now for about 7 or 8 weeks.

Danielle Weedon Great. So firstly, we just wanted to say that we really appreciate your time. It’s only 5:30 in London. So thanks for getting up early and getting your vocals ready for us.

Nick Sneyd Oh, no, no worries. I noticed you didn’t get my bank details beforehand, so I’ll make sure I send them through and invoice you for the time.

Danielle Weedon Exactly! So do you want to start with giving us an overview of your OT career to date and why you decided to head over to the UK and do the working holiday thing?

Nick Sneyd Yeah, absolutely I am. I studied OT at Deakin University in Geelong and graduated with honors at the end of 2018. I wrote my thesis on a seated dance program for aged care residents, which steered me to my first job in aged care in Hobart in early 2019, and then moved across to the Royal Hobart Hospital and worked as an acute OT for a couple of years. And then I moved to Darwin where I worked at Palmerston Regional Hospital in inpatient and outpatient rehab, until I moved to London only a short while ago. As far as motivation to work in the UK goes, I think throughout my uni placements, the early stages of my career, I was really on the hunt to find OT role models to learn from and help me develop my own sense of, you know, my own identity and the sort of OT I wanted to become. So I’d often ask these mentors a lot about their experiences and career highlights, and I think a common thread with all of them, was the London experience in the time that they had overseas. So that was definitely a big draw initially. But yeah, any travel plans that any of us had during COVID were obviously put on the backburner. So it’s only once restrictions started to ease that two of my OT friends that I worked with in Hobart previously, called me very late one Saturday night and said, lets all move to London. Woohoo! We all had a laugh. And yeah, it was all just a funny sort of phone call. And I got thinking about it and actually messaged them the next day and sort of said like, well, you know, if you’re both serious and, you know, let’s make this happen. And from there, we discussed and thought, yeah, let’s do it. And that’s when we started looking at what we needed to do. And that’s how we came across you Clare, and got the ball rolling. So I guess my main motivation at that point was to use my job as a way to make money whilst traveling Europe and more so focusing on my personal life experience with any sort of work related and perks being more the bonus than the main draw.

Clare Jones And we touched on it earlier, Nick, before we started recording, but the professional development that happens is a bonus that you really undergo a lot of personal development as well, doing something like picking yourself up and moving to the other side of the world and working in a different, completely different system.

Nick Sneyd Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I’m only learning that now, but even just moving within Australia, I think I learn a lot about myself every time I move. And it does help you grow as a person, as a friend. It helps you in so many ways and it can be uncomfortable to start with – it always is when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. But yeah, it’s a huge source of growth as well.

Clare Jones Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now, I’m not going to get too bogged down in this, but I do want to mention that there’s quite a few things that you need to tick off before you can work. As an allied health professional in the UK, the main things are gaining professional registration with HCPC and entitlement to work in the UK. So I thought it’d be beneficial for our listeners to run through the details of both really briefly. So stay with us. So in order to work in the UK as an OT, physio, speechie, dietitian, radiographer, biomedical scientist and podiatrist, you need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, which is known as HCPC. Processing time for HCPC applications is approximately 3 to 6 months or even longer. So you need to allow plenty of time for this and we strongly advise you to gain HCPC registration prior to making firm plans to work in the UK. Now there’s two fees associated with HCPC registration. There is an application fee called the scrutiny fee, which equates to around about 920 Aussie dollars, which is nonrefundable. And then once your application’s approved, there’s a biannual registration fee of around 335 Aussie dollars. So you need to budget for around 1300 dollars to cover your registration costs. When it comes to the actual application, it’s a written application. You need to obtain a course information form from the university, and this can take some time to obtain. So you need to make a start on this sooner rather than later. And you also need to obtain two written references from clinicians that have supervised you. So also allow plenty of time to obtain these. Now, Nick, I often get asked this question. It’s written references that you need to obtain, isn’t it?

Nick Sneyd Yeah, I got two written references as part of my HCPC. So you need to attach them as letters attached to the main registration forms.

Clare Jones Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Now, can you tell us briefly about your experience of gaining CPC registration?

Nick Sneyd Or not gaining! There were definitely hiccups. I was just going to say as well about the course information forms, that’s something that’s worth noting as well. Some universities will charge you for that. I’ve heard a mixed, mixed bag of things that it can be between sort of, you know, people being charged between like $90-$250. Luckily, my university, Deakin, didn’t charge me at all for it. But yeah, it is something that you have to factor in. But yeah HCPC, there’s definitely some challenges involved. And so I started looking into it, like I said, probably early September when I started speaking to you Clare. Despite sort of having all the tools and knowing what I needed to do, it really did take time to get all my ducks in a row and being sure that this is what I wanted to do. And yeah, to actually sit down and do those things like get your course information, update your resumé, get your references and complete your application. That all takes time. I think for some people as well the references can be really tricky because I guess at that point people start to get the sense that you’re on the move. So if you are in a pretty secure position, it can be a bit uncomfortable and everyone wants to keep that sort of hush hush. But I guess, yeah, you just have to pick who you are going to get your references from. But I think for me, I was pretty open about wanting to make the move, so I think that made things pretty easy for me. But that’s something that’s worth thinking about that.

Clare Jones How long did it take for your application to be approved?

Nick Sneyd From the point I started looking to the point that I got approved was almost a full year. So almost a year to the day. September 3rd was when I got approved so I could post my HCPC off with all my attachments to London, which obviously takes longer. The process is changed to online now, which I’m hearing is taking less time. Yeah, but from submitting it in January of this year, I heard in March that I need to pay that scrutiny fee, which is yeah, just giving HCPC a huge wad of cash just to have a look at your application. And then I didn’t hear anything from them until June. That’s when I started following them up and making my own phone calls to them. And every time I sort of reassure that my application is only days away, I’ll hear from them very soon and days sort of kept ticking over. And fast forward to the end of June. I was in Italy and I got an email asking for more information on my report and I was sort of expecting that that’s when I’d hear that I would be approved. So the report basically said that I couldn’t get my registration as I hadn’t cited sufficient experience in the mental health sector. And I basically had to provide information and write a letter to them detailing all my experiences in mental health and subjects that I did that were relevant. And basically anything I could do to prove that I was competent in that sector. So because I was in Italy, I couldn’t respond until I got back to London. And then when I did respond, it took another six weeks to finally get approved. So it was just delays and delays and delays. I think each time I had called, it happened to a friend of mine as well, each time we call we’d hear conflicting information about how long it was going to take. And I ended up putting in a very spicy complaint. And certainly confrontational for me, I’m usually not I’m not very confrontational in that space. But yeah, I sort of lit a fire underneath them a little bit and heard within four days that my registration have been improved. So sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So like I said, I think what it is, is that a lot of international applicants are moving to London or the UK in general to, to work. And because of Brexit applicants that have to go through even just from Europe, they have to go through these processes. And after COVID and reduced staffing and people working from home, there are just so many applications and probably not that many people looking at them. So there’s just massive, massive delays. And so it does take longer. I know, but when you told me 3 to 6 months and I thought that was a dream and yet I’d say definitely expect longer. And yeah, if you anticipate the longer then you won’t be disappointed.

Clare Jones I think also, Nick, in HCPC’s defense, if I can defend them, they would have had a massive influx of applications following international borders opening up as well. So I think you probably had a worse off time, in terms of processing times and hopefully, this new online system now acts to really reduce the time it takes.

Nick Sneyd Yeah, absolutely. I think it will.

Danielle Weedon So, in addition to CPC registration, you’ve also got to gain entitlement to work in the UK. So many allied health professionals work in the UK and hold a youth mobility visa. So we thought it’d be beneficial to provide some additional information about this type of visa. So the youth mobility visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to two years, and Australia and New Zealand and Canadian citizens aged between 18 and 30 years are eligible. You must prove that you have £2,530, which is approximately $4,300 of savings to apply. The earliest you can apply is six months before you leave and the processing time is generally between three and six weeks, but it can take longer like HCPC. So the cost is £259, which is approximately $450. And there’s also a healthcare surcharge of approximately $1600 dollars as well. So, Nick, do you hold a youth mobility visa and was the application straightforward?

Nick Sneyd Yeah. In comparison to HCPC I’d say the mobility visa is actually a lot easier. So yeah, that’s the one I had. So I’ve got the mobility visa, which is two years and I’d say that process took me about three months. Once you fill out the forms and pay the money and things like that, but one part of that visa that you’re required to do is complete what’s called a biometrics, where you need to go to a UK visa office in person, submit your paperwork and have a photo and a fingerprint scan. And I guess that’s all well and good for the people who live in Melbourne and Sydney where there’s a UK visa office running business hours Monday to Friday, but unfortunately, I was living in Darwin and they don’t have a UK visa center. And after looking it up, there’s lots of capital cities of major cities in Australia that either don’t have offices or they have offices that run reduced business hours or only a couple of days a month. So you really need to look into that before you start your visa process because basically I had to fly to Melbourne to get my picture taken and then fly home. So it was, it was a little bit of a pain, but luckily for me I have friends and family there so it was a great opportunity to catch up with them before I left because I hadn’t planned to really go back before then. So it ended up being fine. But I can imagine that would be a pretty major setback to some people who were running on a really tight ship or even financially running really close to the wind there. So the other thing was, because I flew into Melbourne, and to get your visa process they have to hold your passport for up to three weeks. So again, if you’re on a pretty strict timeframe and they’ve got your passport now, I had to get that mailed back to me, which again, it probably only took three weeks to get it back in the mail. But yeah, if there had been any delays there and I was waiting to leave and that could have been really, really tricky.

Clare Jones Yeah that’s great advice.

Nick Sneyd And just one thing with the visa as well, is that I think I got told to get that before my HCPC. And I think if I had more time. I’m again, I probably would have liked to have been further along the HCPC process before my visa because I guess the HCPC, you can just keep paying and renewing indefinitely essentially, it’s like your AHPRA registration, you can just pay it and pay it and pay it and it just keeps rolling on. Whereas the visa, you’ve only got this one opportunity and it’s two years to run. So obviously there are opportunities to get sponsored and stay on if you want to. But I feel my first month I was traveling in Italy, but my visa was already active at that point. So I probably wasted my first month. And yeah, if I just timed it a little bit better, I probably could have had my visa start when I was absolutely ready to work with my registration rather than start it as soon as I left Australia. So I definitely recommend people look into that a bit more because it’s something I wish I’d done.

Clare Jones Yeah. Because it activates. Does it activate 12 weeks after you’ve received it, whether you’re in the UK or not?

Nick Sneyd Yeah you basically get to pick, you pick your date from when it starts. So I chose the date of June 15th because I knew that’s when I was going to be arriving in London the first time when I got there from Australia. But then you’ve got 30 days to activate it. So I think if I could have picked a different date and then you’ve got 30 days to activate it, but I think once you get your actual approval before you choose a date, you’ve got three months. Yeah to pick a date basically. So like I said I was just in a bit of a panic, I didn’t know which one to do, so I just did it as soon as I was going to arrive. But I didn’t really think much about it. But now it sort of, yeah. Just took me down a month.

Clare Jones Now, as we mentioned, in order to work in the UK as an allied health professional, there are a number of things you need to prepare in addition to obtaining HCPC registration and a visa. We’re not going to go into all specifics here, but please get in touch if you’re planning a working holiday and we will assist you.

Danielle Weedon So, Nick, can we talk about your working holiday to date? How long did it take you to complete all the necessary preparations to work in the UK? How much time did you allow? You’ve probably touched on that already. About 12 months out.

Nick Sneyd Yeah. I’d say like between sort of six and 12 months. Luckily for me, I was not on too strict a time timeframe. I had a general idea of when I wanted to be here and it was capitalizing on the European summer. So trying to get into Europe for sort of June-July was the plan just so I could go on a nice big holiday in Italy, which is really lucky. So yeah, the whole thing’s been a bit of a whirlwind. Like I said, it’s it is always uncomfortable moving to a new place and everything’s sort of just go, go, go until leave. Yeah, I sort of felt a bit scattered and unsettled there for a fair while. So and yeah, there’s definitely parts of this experience so far that haven’t been overly glamorous. But yeah, it’s been amazing to be here and I’m just really glad that I followed through with it because it can be one of those things that people talk about doing and then, you know, get to their forties in which they’ve done or they didn’t actually do it. So I’m, I’m really glad that I’ve actually just pulled the trigger and made the move.

Danielle Weedon And did you set up a bank account in the UK or before you headed there? And was it easy? Can you give us a bit of info on that?

Nick Sneyd Oh yeah, great question. What I did is I got what’s called a wise card and I’d strongly recommend looking into that. I’m not sponsored by Wise, I’m not making a plug. It was just a really, really helpful app. So basically you can do that when you’re in Australia. So if you order a wise card and they’ve got a really good app that helps you convert currency so you can send your Australian money to Wise and get it converted into the great British pounds or euros and things like that. So I sort of used that initially to help get me over here and when I got to London, a lot of banks require you to have a fixed address and I guess a lot of people in my position will be traveling over without a fixed address. And if you don’t have a friend whose address you can sort of use temporarily, then yeah, it becomes really tricky to try and open a bank account. So there is a bank that I am with again, not sponsored, but it’s Lloyds Bank, which didn’t require me to have a fixed address. They just relied on my passport and my biometrics card to open a bank account. And then I updated the address later. So that was really lucky that they allowed me to do that. So basically I have my Australian bank and my UK bank, and the Wise sort of works as an in between, which helped me flip currency between my Australian and British accounts. And also I can use that Wise card when I’m traveling around Europe and yeah, load up different currencies on that side. I’d definitely recommend that because yeah, I get my wage paid to my British bank and money can still come into my Australian bank and people would transfer me and things like that. Different things. So yeah, I think it’s helpful to have all three, but yeah, it’s probably going to work different for everyone.

Danielle Weedon And how did you find accommodation in London?

Nick Sneyd Oh, yeah. Very, very, very tricky. It’s, um. So, like I said before, I moved over here with two OTs from Australia and the three of us were originally looking to try and all get a place together and we quickly gave that up and started looking separately when we saw how competitive it was to find a house with three spare rooms at Yeah, it was very, very tricky. There’s a there’s an app that everyone uses over here called Spare Room. So you download that and I think me and the two girls were sending off about 30 messages a day and maybe hearing back from two people if we are lucky enough to arrange inspections and even some of the inspections that we had, we’re on the tube 20 minutes away from our inspection starting when we get to get a text, basically saying that the rooms been taken. So it’s really cutthroat, it’s really competitive. And I just thought big city, lots of houses, which is true, but big city also means lots of people. So lots more competition. And yeah, it was up to 400 people turning up to do inspections and things like that over the course of a couple of days. So it’s absolutely insane. So I feel really lucky to have a place now, but you are paying a lot more than what you probably pay for in Australia. But yeah, it is London, so we probably expect that as well. Yeah, I’d say some of the houses that I looked at as well, really sort of average, Harry Potter under the stairs sort of operations where you don’t really have a kitchen or you don’t have shared living spaces. So I’m lucky that I’ve got both of those things, but I know a lot of the places I looked at were pretty dark and dingy, and I sort of looked at every house and thinking and what it’s going to look like in the cold and rain and whether it’s going to be good for my mental health going forwards, I think I’m in a good place now. But yeah, yeah. The girls that I was with, they’ve only just found a place now and we’ve been here like eight weeks or so, so it’s taken them that long. They were in a temporary sublet accommodation until then and yeah, it’s taken that long him to find a secure 12 month lease. So it is really, really tough.

Clare Jones Yeah. We often mention to therapists that if they’re prepared to go out of London, they can get locum roles with hospital accommodation, not free of cost, but at a very reasonable rate. It does make that option look very attractive, especially when you first get over there, doesn’t it?

Nick Sneyd Oh, absolutely. And I’d say it depends what your priorities are, whether you need to be in London or if you’re open to moving around. Because yeah, that’s what I’ve heard so far as well from my recruiter, that if I’m willing to move, that there’s accommodation available in the more regional areas, which I guess you’d expect, it would be a lot trickier for them to offer accommodation in London for every single health person that was wanting to get a job in the city. So but yeah, like you said, there is often still a cost. Unfortunately, it’s usually only doctors that get accommodation paid for. I think the OTs might struggle to justify getting free housing.

Clare Jones Further down the pecking order.

Nick Sneyd Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, it’s probably fair enough, but something to certainly think about if they’re open to moving more regionally. I’ve also heard you can get paid at a higher rate, more regionally, because there is that high demand. Whereas London, you know, everyone wants to work in London and live in London. So that’s why things can be, you know, you can get paid a little bit less or rent being a little bit higher just because there is such high demand.

Clare Jones At what level are you working out at the moment?

Nick Sneyd So I’m working at what’s called a band six, and that’s basically the equivalent of like a level two or grade two in Australia.

Clare Jones So what is that about two to four years of experience?

Nick Sneyd Yeah, I’d say so. Probably, probably more like 3 to 4. I think that’s the 1 to 2 would be what’s called a band five. And in my, in my role as a health assistant, when I was waiting for my HCPC, they’d say that was what’s called a band 4. That the NHS pay is pretty fixed across the board. I’m sure my recruiter get a bit of a cut out of that but yeah. From the band 4 I think it was about £13 an hour and then moving up to a band six it’s about £23 an hour. So it’s a fair difference in pay.

Clare Jones So you were getting paid that £13 as an allied health assistant?

Nick Sneyd Yeah, that’s right. Yep. Then, yeah. 23 now as a band six OT.

Clare Jones Now your story’s a bit different because you worked as an allied health assistant first and then went into an OT role, but did you secure that Allied Health Assistant role before or after you arrived in London?

Nick Sneyd So it is a bit of a funny story, but I had a job lined up at a different hospital as an OT, but because of my delays in my registration, they couldn’t accept me to start work there until I had proof of my HCPC. So what ended up happening is that, yeah, I then got my recruiter to put out a call to any hospital sort of in the city that would take me as an assistant initially and then transition me into an OT as soon as my registration came through. So yeah, I sort of had something lined up just prior to entering London, just corresponding to my recruiter on emails. But yeah, that was all really set up when I was in Australia. My recruiter was talking to me quite regularly about the areas I wanted to work in and what sort of experiences I was interested in. So they sort of build a profile for you and you complete updated resumes and all their onboarding tasks, so you don’t really have to interview. You’ve just got, you know, list of jobs to pick from and then you reach out to those or your recruiter reaches out to those agencies and tries to match you. So that part’s pretty well taken care of.

Clare Jones And that’s what we aim to do here, is to make that transition a very smooth transition, so that you’re always in contact and you always know what’s happening at any given time. Now, you’re working at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington in London. Tell us, was it difficult to secure that role or did you have lots of locums to choose from? In how much demand are you in over there?

Nick Sneyd I’m a pretty hot commodity at the moment. Like a piece of meat, seeing who will pay the most money for you. As a health assistant, it was a lot trickier, you know, like I said, because I didn’t have that registration, I didn’t have as much of a peak in where I ended up. It was more just getting whatever job I could because London’s a very expensive place to live without a job. So I really just needed anything initially. But now that I’m an OT, I was getting sort of between eight and 20 job offers. So the demand is massive, there’s so much work I think. There’s just so much work and I think if I was willing to work out of London or work outside of hospitals and do other things, there’d just be a bit more jobs opened up as well. So I’m working in pretty niche areas and even still getting, you know, I’ve got that quantity of job offered. So the work’s there for sure.

Clare Jones And how have you found working in a department as a locum? Like have you been welcomed into the department with open arms? Do you attend things like staff meetings? I mean you’re there at a premium cost per hour, do you get to attend things like professional development and staff meetings?

Nick Sneyd Yeah, I do. I’ve been involved in that. I’d say being a locum is sort of a bit like being a junior. Again, you sort of just filling gaps that need to be filled and sort of working on the wards that no one else wants to work on. So it can be not very, not very glamorous, I’d say. But yeah. And you have to really be open to regular changes. Like this week I think, or tomorrow I think I’m supposed to be moving wards again and yeah, you just sort of filling gaps wherever, wherever you get told. I think, yeah, I don’t mind too much to get moved around. Sort of expect that with locum work. But I’d say just in terms of that, I guess I was met with a bit of indifference and I’m not sure whether that’s just British people, just been a bit hard to crack, but I think it was possibly as well the fact that they know you’re a locum and they know you’re not going to really stay long. I guess the investment in you to train you up, is probably not there like if you were a permanent staff member. So yeah, I’ve attended, we have professional development every Wednesday afternoon, but I’d say it is there’s just some general other stuff like onboarding and orientations and things that have just been a little bit more haphazard than I thought. You know, you just figure it out and I guess I have, but it’s yeah, it’s not the same sort of warm fuzzy welcome that I’ve had in other places where everyone’s been really interested. And I guess the novelty is I think people are I don’t notice it myself, but I think, my accent is quite funny to people. So my workmates have been calling me Australia because I obviously stand out. So it’s weird being a bit of a novelty to them to just running around talking in a funny accent and saying funny sayings that I don’t really realize I do. But yeah, that’s, that’s sort of been a bit of a quirky thing. But yeah, no, it’s been, it’s been good on the whole.

Danielle Weedon But your point is as well, is that you are really just expected to be thrown in the deep end a bit, aren’t you? Because you’re there as a locum to fill gaps?

Nick Sneyd And I guess one of the things with that flexibility as well is your holiday pay is actually included in your hourly rate. And so when things like public holidays come along or you want to take leave, you don’t actually get paid for that time. I think that’s the same with sick leave actually as well, that you don’t get paid for it because it’s sort of built in your hourly rate. But it also gives you the flexibility to at the drop of a hat and to say that you don’t know you’re not working and things like that, which I’d probably want to be a bit more respectful and give my employer some notice, but I knew I was going to take leave and things. But essentially if I told them today that I’m going to have all next week off and then I can basically do that, it just means that I don’t get paid. So yeah, it’s a sort of an interesting thing, in some ways it can be good, in other ways not so good. But yeah, you really do have a lot of flexibility in what you can do.

Clare Jones Nick, can I just ask you, do you think it’s a benefit to have at least 12 months experience before you go over?

Nick Sneyd Oh, absolutely. Like I said, because of that lack of orientation and things like that, you know, you are really expected to hit the ground running. Oh, yeah. It depends on how confident you feel in what you’re doing. But I would really say I don’t think I would have managed this in my first two years of working as an OT. I think, yeah, I’ve really been expected to figure it out. And I think when you have a really good knowledge of the OT process and what your role is, you know, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in a different health system, you know, the general pathway of what you’re supposed to do and where things are supposed to go, they might be called a different name or they might have different rules or policies about how to go down certain pathways. But you know, what exists and what your job is. So I think if you weren’t really firm around those things, this would be really, really difficult.

Clare Jones Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Danielle Weedon We spoke about accommodation. But the other point to make as well, depending on the clinical specialty you look at, and I know I did it many years ago, but I worked in community rehab for some time and I actually had a car as part of my job, which is pretty exciting. I was living in south west London, but I could head over to Wales on my weekends with my mates and things like that. So if that was part of my sort of benefit, more socially as well and highlights of working over there in the role that I took. But what so far has been a big highlight for you?

Nick Sneyd The big highlights, I’d say, would be just making the move and like I said, committing to actually coming over here and the novelty of being in one of the busiest cities in the world at a pretty historic time, with the queen passing and the king coming in very shortly. You know, it’s a pretty interesting time of the year in general. I’m constantly really blown away with how much London has to offer the funny accents. And I just feel really proud of myself that I’ve made it here. And I’m really grateful to have an opportunity like this because it’s I know it’s extremely fortunate to be able to do this. And yeah, I just sort of pinch myself every now and then I’ll say a double decker bus and think, this is my life. I’m actually here. So I’d say that that continues to be a highlight. And yeah, being so close to Europe and having access. Things are just at your fingertips and you can have some really cool experiences. I’m still pretty new to it all but there’s just so much here that I just can’t wait to sink my teeth into. And yeah, it’s all very exciting.

Danielle Weedon It’s so great. It’s such a melting pot of amazingess London, isn’t it. You’re still working in your career and you’re earning good money per hour to be able to travel.

Nick Sneyd Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Danielle Weedon And what about challenges? What’s your biggest challenge been so far?

Nick Sneyd Other than dealing, like I said, when I was an allied health assistant working on a sort of geriatric surgical ward, every patient I went to stand out, transfer or mobilize, had to poo. I’ve never dealt with as much poo as I have in my seven weeks of working. It’s been absolutely obscene, I’d say. And yeah, that was a big reason why I wanted to get into OT so I didn’t have to deal with that. But yeah, here I am and it’s certainly built a lot of resilience, but that’s been the biggest challenge.

Nick Sneyd It’s certainly a massive challenge. But I’d say just the general like learning to sit with discomfort and uncertainty, especially when things go wrong. There’s been a lot a lot of things from the point that I started this process, you know, life just happens. Like I said, it took me around 12 months to get all this happening. And there are a lot of things that happened in that time that I didn’t plan for or expect. So it doesn’t matter how well you plan, you know, things can go wrong. I had you know there’s delays in the HCPC, I had my car in Australia breakdown two days before I was supposed to sell it. And there’s just been a number of things that you know, have been hiccups. And luckily for me, I had the, you know, the time and the money to allow for some flexibility for some things to go wrong. But yeah, it was pretty scary and there were a lot of hiccups along the way. And like I said, I think when things are scary and unknown and challenge you in those ways, I think that’s when you learn most about yourself and you do the most growing. So I think although those have been some really challenging times, moving to new places where I didn’t know anyone. Yeah it can always be really challenging. I know it makes me a better OT overall and you know hopefully helps make me a more well-rounded person overall more generally. So yeah. But like I said in that, in that massive amount of time, there’s a lot that can happen in your life. And so I’d say you really need to be clear about the reasons that you want to want to come and go through a process like this because there’s a lot that can happen in your life that might make you want to stay in Australia and things pop up all over. So if you have a really clear idea of what you want to get out of the experience, I think it makes it a bit easier to go through that discomfort.

Danielle Weedon Yeah, I agree. Be afraid and brave at the same time. Always a good motto. So you’re going to Wales this weekend, you’ve just mentioned, but more broadly, what’s the next few months? What have you got planned?

Nick Sneyd Yeah I’ve certainly got weekends booked back to back to back with travels and things like that, which is so good. I think the big highlights that I’ve got on the horizon, I’m going to Octoberfest in Munich at the end of this month, and yeah, I’ve booked in St Patty’s Day in Dublin the next year in March. So yeah, those things will be massive. I’m really, really excited for that. But yeah, just more generally I’m going to Germany a couple of times, and you say going to Wales and just trying to make the most of being here because like I said, that for me was the main draw of being here is being so close to Europe and having access to those things. So yeah, I’m trying to do really something pretty much every weekend, even if it’s just in England or, you know, somewhere close by. So locum wise, now that I’m a hot commodity as an OT, I may look into changing jobs soon into an area that I’m sort of more passionate about. But yeah, right now I’m trying not to look too far ahead and just be present and enjoy what I’m doing because I’m here doing something pretty incredible in a pretty amazing city. So I just I don’t want to plan too far ahead and just sort of enjoy what I’m doing.

Clare Jones Well, my advice, Nick, is an OT that’s been there and done that is absolutely live it up. Go for it while you can. Because life moves on pretty quickly. So absolutely make the most of it. You certainly sound like you are.

Nick Sneyd I hope so. I’ll take that on for sure.

Clare Jones Thanks, Nick. Thanks so much for joining us. It is just great to hear firsthand your experience in locuming as an allied health professional in the UK. And to our listeners out there who are planning a working holiday to the UK., or even if you’re just thinking about it, please get in touch. We’re here to help every step of the way. You can email us or get in contact via our website Thanks, Nick.

Nick Sneyd Thanks very much, Danielle and Clare. Appreciate it.

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