Watch Toughest Place To Be A… on UK BBC TV
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Changing places with someone who does your job in a country with less equipment and questionable health and safety can make you appreciate your own life more. Watch on BBC 2 and available on BBC iPlayer
If you think you’ve got a tough job, try swapping places with a counterpart in another, much poorer country and see how the other lives.
That’s the concept behind ‘Toughest place to be a …’ which takes a highly qualified and experienced British worker and asks them do the same job under some of the toughest conditions in the world.
The first series followed the exploits of a London bus driver in Manila, a midwife who moved from Sutton Coldfield to Monrovia, and a Cardiff paramedic who struggled for two weeks in Guatemala City.
For many the experience has been chastening and often life-changing.
The show takes people who are working, or have recently retired, and sees how the cope under extremely challenging working conditions.
Participants have to do the job for 10 days and are housed and given on-the-job training by their hosts.
Among them was a firefighter from Hayward’s Heath who went to the Amazon to help fight forest fires and found the team he worked with would often work punishing four day shifts to control the fires, most of which were started deliberately to clear the land for agriculture.
‘Toughest place to be a …’ has put how workers in other countries cope with their working lives under the spotlight.
For instance, a fisherman joined a crew in Sierra Leone, which led to the creation of a charity supported by the UK’s fishing industry to aid fishing communities in the African nation.
There’s no doubt that the programme has taken a simple concept and made it work by making people empathise with those working abroad in often appalling conditions and yet remain enthusiastic and upbeat of their work.
‘Toughest place to be a…’ is broadcast on BBC2 with episodes available on the BBC iPlayer.
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