Two Queenslanders are among a group of volunteers who have received an award for their efforts to support frontline medical staff fighting COVID-19 in the UK.

Queenslanders Raymond Siems and Callum MacBeth are part of a group of Aussie expats who received a prestigious Pandemic Service Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering for their IT engineering work on the HEROES charity platform.

Both Mr Siems and Mr MacBeth are IT entrepreneurs who have been supported in their start-up ventures in the UK by TIQ.

They are part of a group that was recognised for taking just 2 days to develop and launch the HEROES platform, which supports National Health Service (NHS) workers in the UK.

The platform has now raised more than 2 million pounds, which is being used to provide direct support to NHS workers on the COVID-19 frontline.

Queensland Agent-General and Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Europe Linda Apelt commended Mr Siems and Mr MacBeth for their selfless efforts.

‘Queenslanders, like all Australians, are prepared to roll up their sleeves and help others when and where it is needed,’ Ms Apelt said.

‘To hear that these people far from home are helping others in very trying and stressful situations is inspiring.’

To date, HEROES has helped 90,000 NHS workers with mental health support and physical support, generating donations to offset personal costs, childcare, meals during shifts and PPE gear.

Information technology is the common thread among the group of expats, who left Australia for Helsinki in Finland in 2014 to start their own company and are now based in Cambridge.

Today they all have full-time work but dedicate volunteer hours to HEROES.

Mr Siems said it was fulfilling for all the expats to be involved in the platform and do something for the many thousands of people working to help others during the pandemic.

‘We would love to be home right now, but we’ve stayed and tried to make a difference by helping meet the need here,’ he said.

The charity has been supported by household names in the UK, including Robbie Williams and former Spice Girl Mel B, plus a swag of Premier League football personalities including former star Joe Cole.

The charity’s central campaign has been Help Them Help Us, with the www.helpthemhelpus.co.uk website allowing NHS workers to apply for donations to help them with their additional costs during the pandemic.

Mr Siems is the charity’s Chief Technology Officer and was named on the award citation along with Dr Ravi Solanki. Mr MacBeth is the Systems Administrator.

The engineering awards honour those who have contributed to helping address the challenges of the pandemic, across all technical specialities, disciplines and career stages.

The start-ups and technology sector is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2020.

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