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Rima Ategha

Career Path: Project Manager, Expertise France
Location: El Fahs, Tunisia

I graduated from the School of Dentistry in Tripoli in late nineties, I worked for a while in many private dental practices, but somehow along the way I found myself losing interest in the field and started to look for opportunities within the health sector but more into the managerial aspect of work! I was shortly offered a job as a Medical Assistant to the Medical Director of the Swiss Libyan Diagnostic Center in Tripoli, a very prestigious clinic. In less than two years, I was promoted to Medical Director and started to think about pursuing my ambitions to go to the UK to study Health Management. I was considered the youngest female to be in this position in Tripoli and, in my opinion, the least experienced, therefore, gaining the essential knowledge and know-how along with the practical experience was crucial for me.

I was lucky to get a place at Northumbria University in a course that answered my needs with the ensuing journey being challenging but yet very rewarding. I will forever cherish that period of my life. After obtaining my Masters degree, I went back home and was offered a job as a Head of Department in a private Maltese hospital based in Tripoli. I worked there until 2011, the year of the revolution, and after the situation improved I went back and started working with the British embassy, UKTI department, as a Healthcare Services Consultant. My job was to find opportunities for British private companies in the Libyan health sector, I managed to secure many contracts to many British companies.

What are you doing now?

After living many years in Malta following my departure from Libya, I was offered a job in Tunisia as a Project Manager in Expertise France agency, I managed many projects funded by the EU aiming to facilitate the lives of Libyans by empowering them economically, and at the same time, disseminating the culture of entrepreneurship in Libya. After four years of work with Expertise France, I now lead a 1.5m Euros project called Raqam-e, funded by the French government which aims to help Libya in its digital transition by creating many coding academies across Libya and helping the government become more digital. The diversity of expertise I was exposed to in recent years has enriched my knowledge and experience. Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work in various fields starting from entrepreneurship, to women empowerment and to digital transition. I think that my duty towards my country right now is to help enhance people's lives in any possible way, what I do as a profession may help in this by securing jobs, gaining skills and knowledge essential to find new jobs or open new business.Rima Ategha

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I chose Northumbria University because I heard a lot of positive feedback from previous students. Newcastle as a city is also considered family friendly, and since I was planning to stay with my little family, I wanted to make sure that we choose a healthy environment for my young daughter to grow and enjoy!

What was it like studying at Northumbria? (eg. were there a mix of lectures, seminars, team projects? Was the feedback constructive?)

I joined Northumbria in January 2006, I took a pre-Masters course to prepare me for the Master degree. I enjoyed that period in particular because first of all the workload was light compared to the Master's and because it was my first experience mingling with different nationalities. I am still good friends with many of them to this day. 
l later joined my Masters course, it was in Coach lane campus, which I honestly didn't like in the beginning, but later on when modules became more interesting and relevant I started to like the place as well, especially since it was less crowded than the main campus.
During my studies at Northumbria, I enjoyed being in the Library for hours. The resources available, the helping staff, all added to the positive experience I had.
In general, my experience studying at Northumbria was positive and rewarding. I was provided support on many levels. My tutor was amazing, my colleagues who I later became good friends with were always supportive.
All in all, it was a beautiful experience!


How connected was your course with industry? 

In my domain, we didn't have enough field trips to NHS institutes! Which I consider a negative aspect of the course. We welcomed some guest lecturers though, and their contribution to my knowledge was valuable.

What was the best thing about your course?

The supervisor, Prof. Joan Aarvold. The students who I shared tears and joy with. The modules that were flexible and adaptable to our own characteristics. For example, I remember we asked for extra sessions on management styles, marketing tools and financial management (since most of us came from countries where health system is more inclined to private than public unlike the UK), they immediately offered those sessions which were valuable and helped me a lot after I went back home.


How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I gained the knowledge I needed and for me this added up to my experience and gave me the added value I was eager to achieve. Unfortunately the situation in my country interrupted my plans, and at some point, I had to shift my career and focus on what can help stabilise my country (hence joining the projects I mentioned earlier)

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Negotiation skills, strategic planning, research models and techniques, management skills, and many more!

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The friendly atmosphere, the support that was always provided. The flexibility of tutors.
I think what added to the positive impact was the city in general. I had a lovely time exploring the city and its surroudings, visiting museums, libraries and art galleries. In general, it was a lovely experience.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

To not hesitate, they won't regret it!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

positive, impactful, life-changing!

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