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Specialist nurse – anaesthesia: Achieving my goal with an apprenticeship

When it became too unsafe in his homeland of Afghanistan, Mohammad Tamim Faqiri left for Germany. In Berlin, the 31-year-old has succeeded in restarting his career with an apprenticeship in nursing.

Eine junge Frau in Schutzkleidung überprüft einen Bildschirm im OP-Saal.

German version

Mohammad Tamim Faqiri previously had specific plans for his future in Afghanistan: After graduating from high school, he began studying for a degree in law at Kabul University and wanted to become a lawyer. He had also opened a mobile phone shop to help him to fund his studies. In 2015, however, the situation in his homeland became so uncertain that he decided to leave.

His first stop in Germany was the Brandenburg town of Eisenhüttenstadt, before he moved to Schönwalde near Berlin a little later. It was some time until his residency status was settled. At the beginning of 2017, he turned his attention to restarting his career. “I wanted to follow up on my law studies and become a legal secretary,” he explains. With the help of the family he was living with at the time, he found an internship at a law firm. During his one-month assignment, however, he decided that he didn’t really enjoy the work.

Good job prospects

“I therefore went to the Refugee Advice Centre and found out about other possible training courses and areas of work.” On talking to the specialists there, the possibility of working in nursing and completing an apprenticeship as a nurse was discussed. “That appealed to me straight away”, recalls the 31-year-old. “I liked the idea of working with people.” He also liked the prospects that the occupation would offer him: “As a nurse, I will always be needed and can work anywhere.”

Mohammad Tamim Faqiri contacted the Vivantes clinic in the Spandau district of Berlin, and was offered a one-month internship shortly afterwards. “I liked it so much that I decided that was the field in which I wanted to pursue my career”, explains the 31-year-old. He went online to find out about the requirements he had to fulfil for the apprenticeship: His school-leaving certificate from Afghanistan was recognised. And he had already learned German. His language proficiency level, B1, was also sufficient.

Linguistic challenges

A little later, Vivantes invited him to an interview. In October 2017, Mohammad Tamim Faqiri was able to start his apprenticeship as a nurse. He would work for one month at different wards in the hospital before attending vocational college the next month.

“At that time, I had only been in Germany for a year and a half and still had some big problems with the language”, he recalls. Especially when the teaching staff spoke quickly, he wasn’t able to understand everything. In addition to this, he also had to learn specialist words and Latin terms. “It took me about six months to become more confident with the language, and I then found everything a little easier”, he recalls.

At this time, the support of the German family with whom he was still living at the start of his apprenticeship meant a lot to him. “The mother helped me go through my notes and would explain what individual words meant,” he explains. “The teachers didn’t have the time to provide this sort of support at college.”

Positive feedback

Mohammad Tamim Faqiri was also helped by the fact that he was so motivated. “I really enjoyed the work and my colleagues were also very nice, we always got on well with each other.” The feedback from the patients was also positive. “It’s a great feeling to help others and to see how grateful they are.”

About a year ago he completed his apprenticeship successfully, and was given a permanent job at Vivantes. “I now work as an anaesthesia nurse in the operating theatre at a hospital in Berlin.” When he looks back on his new start, he realises how important learning German was. “Good language skills simplify a lot of things and open doors.”

He is particularly happy about his apprenticeship. “Without an apprenticeship, you can mostly only do menial work. Now I have career prospects and earn good money.” That is why there is one thing he is certain of: “It was important that I completed my apprenticeship, despite a few hurdles. It was definitely worth it!”