From education to employment

Iraqi refugee achieves university dream, thanks to Middlesbrough College

@mbrocollege – A YOUNG Iraqi refugee who fled to the UK alone is on course to achieve his dream of working for the NHS.

Aiman Aziz, 25, came to the UK in 2015 when he was just 18 and spoke little English.

Now, thanks to Middlesbrough College, he’s on course to realise his dream to work in the health service and is about to go to university.

Despite having an aptitude for science and having already studied for his exams in Iraq, Aiman’s education records were destroyed during the conflict. However, Aiman was determined to study and enrolled at Westminster Education Service.

Aiman said: “I came to the UK speaking very little English and I wanted to study. I knew that I wanted to build my life here and give back to everyone who had been so kind to me. It was then that I decided I wanted to work for the NHS.”

After achieving GCSEs in English and maths in London, Aiman made the move up north to enrol onto the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Science at Middlesbrough College.

He added: “I moved to Middlesbrough after connecting with members of the Iraqi community on Facebook.

“A friend recommended Middlesbrough College to me, and I knew as soon as I came to visit the College that it was the place for me.

“Middlesbrough College has been my friend. At a time when I was still processing some of the trauma I had been through in my past, the College gave me all the support I could need.

“My tutors have been amazing and helped me to fall back in love with science. I had never done assignments before, but they guided me through each task and helped me to achieve, even if it meant staying back hours after class had finished to support me. I’ve gained a lot of skills and confidence.

“I was delighted to achieve an overall distinction grade in my Access diploma and be accepted at the University of Sunderland to study for a degree in Pharmacy.

“As a child I knew I wanted to work in the medical field and I’m over the moon that this dream is finally becoming a reality.

“My advice to anyone who wants to return to education or needs to because of situations that are out of their control is to go for it and ask for help – nothing is impossible!”

Although he keeps in touch with his family, Aiman has not seen them in almost seven years. He added: “I miss my family very much and hope to meet them again one day. Thankfully I’ve received a lot of support here and I’ve enjoyed every single moment of living and studying in Middlesbrough.

“I’ve met so many friends and feel incredibly happy to be part of the Middlesbrough community – it has been like home for me.”

Aiman’s tutor, Peter Carr, said: “We’re enormously proud of Aiman and all he’s achieved. His determination in the face of all he has been through is inspirational, and we know he’s going to have a very bright future ahead of him.”

Middlesbrough College offers a range of Access to Higher Education Diplomas for students who want to progress to university but don’t have the entry requirements such as a Level 3 BTEC or A Levels.

Studied part-time across one year, the course is perfect for students who want to go further with their studies. With small class sizes compared to universities and all the individual support students need to ease back into education, this course will help students to succeed and reach their career goals. The Access Diploma is also FREE if students go on to complete a university level course.

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