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Angela Smith

Volunteer to Career

Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is a key challenge facing not just ophthalmology, but also the wider global health sector. The enormous pressure on existing staff has only intensified in recent years.

Moorfields have been using volunteers to support paid staff in various roles for many years. During the Covid-19 pandemic the role of volunteers significantly increased as they helped with infection control measures and provided emotional support to patients experiencing exceptionally high levels of anxiety about attending a hospital during a pandemic, as well as about their procedures.

Moorfields identified 24 volunteers who expressed interest in healthcare careers. They committed to
150hrs over the 6-month period and were placed in roles designed to help them gain the necessary skills and experience to follow their chosen career paths. We also supported them with application and interview skills training. This led to 7 people getting jobs at Moorfields, and 10 secured further education or training relating to health and care, including Orthoptics BMedSci, Masters in Neurosciences, BSc Medicine and Level 6 Health and Social Sciences.

We will use the lessons learned from this project to produce a toolkit for other WAEH members, to help them develop a similar programme.

Key sentences

  • Introduction – helping address recruitment needs at Moorfields by upskilling volunteers
  • Theory of Change – benefits to patients, staff and volunteers
  • Volunteer roles and placements – including handholding in the theatris
  • Executive and Clinical Support for volunteer to Career Project
  • WAEH project – a toolkit for others to use