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Oday

 

My name is Oday.  I was born in Iraq.  I studied mechanical engineering at the University of Baghdad and went on to do further studies in computer science.We had an established family business

in Baghdad, a high tech company - one of the first to be involved in computer networking. We installed many important systems in Iraq, including for the Ministry of Interior Affairs.   I was one of few who knew how to install fibre optics networks, which  I did for the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

When the latest Iraq war started, the circumstances were such that I was compelled to leave Iraq.  I left for Jordan in 2006, where I worked as a free lancer and gained an international certificate in IT (CISCO/Microsoft).  After a year I had had a decent, permanent job in my speciality, but I was considered as a second degree citizen and in 2009 I came to UK as a refugee. 

I came holding my higher education degree plus ten years experience in the IT field.  I was shocked when I realised that finding a job here in UK is almost mission impossible.  I knew I shouldn’t have gaps in my CV so I started to seek voluntary work in my field.  It was not easy to find.  Private IT companies don’t welcome volunteering. 

Finally I came to the Volunteer Centre.  James offered me a volunteering opportunity with VAS, tutoring for the ‘My Guide to Computing’ training programme. I started immediately.  Then James referred me to another organisation, the Heeley Development Trust, and I worked there as a volunteer too.  I volunteered four days a week.  Then, after a year, Heeley Development Trust advertised a part-time job.  I applied and got the job.  I am now working for the Trust three days a week.

Working as a volunteer was very helpful for me for many reasons.  I had a chance to develop my skills.  I had experience of working in a different environment.  I had the chance to develop my networking skills: to make new friends and develop contacts.  I felt a real satisfaction contributing to something worthwhile.  And I added to my CV. 

I really enjoy my job even though I am only part-time.  I feel more energy and great passion when I do my work.  It gives me a lot of pleasure to do the work well. That’s what I enjoy. And eventually I will find a full-time job where I can use all my skills.

 

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