A group of volunteers are taking their first steps into NHS roles after taking part in a new volunteer to career scheme.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Volunteer to Career’ programme began in April 2023 and has already seen five clinical volunteers take the leap into paid roles at the Trust.
Volunteers enrolled on the scheme get one-to-one support from clinical leads on the ward and the volunteer service team to develop their skills and hone their experience in readiness for job applications and interviews.
Former volunteers have so far taken on roles as team support workers and health care assistants, supporting patients on hospital wards.
Rebecca Adione and Margaret Chigozie are two such former volunteers, having begun their new roles as team support workers. The roles involve assisting patients with admission and discharge, and supporting with the day-to-day running of the ward – such as answering calls and restocking supplies.
47-year-old Rebecca began as a hospital volunteer in December 2022 and has since started her role as a team support worker on ward 26.
Rebecca, a former hospitality worker from Stockton, said: “I have long been interested in healthcare. As the oldest child, I had the opportunity to care for my younger siblings and also my grandparents. That’s when I realised I like caring for people.
“The Volunteer to Career scheme has helped me in so many ways. It has given me work experience, built my confidence in interacting with patients and staff and in particular developed my skills in patience and empathy.”
One month into her new role, Rebecca is eager to continue in her new healthcare career. She has aspirations of ultimately working in a nutritionist or ward hostess role to also indulge her second passion and field of study – food science.
She continued: “I would advise anyone looking for a career in healthcare to develop their skills while volunteering and to also give their best. You can never tell what future career it could lead to.”
41-year-old Margaret, from Middlesbrough, has also recently taken on a new role as a team support worker. It comes after she initially joined the Trust as a volunteer in March this year. She is now looking to take up further education in healthcare.
Margaret said: “Volunteer to Career has played a crucial role in my employment journey and imparted valuable lessons that I’ll carry forward in my career. I’ve learned the importance of guidance and mentorship – it really highlighted how important it is to have a support system.
“Now that I’m in my new role, I’m looking forward to learning new skills and developing professionally to become a patient advocate or a registered nurse in the future.”
Giving back to our volunteers
Volunteer to Career is funded by Health Education England and supported by Helpforce. The national scheme has so far seen more than half of volunteers taking part secure employment or further education in healthcare.
Paul Wharton is head of volunteering at the Trust. He said: “Our fantastic volunteers support our patients and visitors to make sure they have the best experience possible while visiting us. To be able to give back to them by way of support into a paid role is so rewarding.
“This initiative also demonstrates the value of volunteering and how it can support our future workforce. We know our volunteers have bright futures in healthcare and we’re honoured to be a part of that journey.”
To find out more about our Volunteer to Career scheme, visit our volunteer page or contact the team.