When make-up artist Chloe Radley lost most of her customers during the pandemic she decided to turn her steady hand to something else: becoming a vaccine volunteer.
Now she is one of more than 11,000 volunteers to have started a new job in the NHS after signing up to help the roll-out.
And it has emerged 11,483 of those – including former gym managers, dance instructors and cabin crew – have stayed on in the NHS in other roles.
When make-up artist Chloe Radley lost most of her customers during the pandemic she decided to turn her steady hand to something else: becoming a vaccine volunteer
Miss Radley, who is now a patient pathway coordinator at Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘During the first months of the pandemic, I lost the majority of my customers and was unable to resume my work, so I decided to take the plunge and support our local vaccination programme in an admin role.
‘I immediately fell in love with the job and the team and, when my manager encouraged me to apply for another role, I jumped at the chance.’
Inga Zamolynska, who joined the vaccine effort after her mother moved to the UK from Ukraine and was able to help with childcare, is now a patient experience coordinator at the same hospital, and described the job as ‘a dream come true’.
Volunteer vaccinators have spent more than two and a half million hours helping to get jabs into arms since the world’s first Covid vaccination outside a research trial was given to Margaret Keenan in Coventry in December 2020.
Since December 2020 the health service has recruited more than 71,000 volunteers to deliver around 120million shots to the public. People are pictured above waiting outside the Wembley Stadium vaccination centre in December
Karen Dear, a 57-year-old former dance teacher who was furloughed during the pandemic, now supports new mothers and babies as a ward clerk at Bedford Hospital.
‘When I was furloughed from my job teaching at a dance school, I was eager to do something to help so joined the NHS vaccination programme,’ she said. ‘After a year, I decided I wanted to pursue a long-term career in the NHS… Now I’m in a new job I love.’
Kazeem Reaves Odunsi worked as a gym manager before becoming a vaccinator and is now an assistant service manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
He said: ‘I have always loved helping people so the vaccinator role seemed like a good fit and, although I don’t have any clinical experience, I received training and was able to use the leadership skills and good customer service that I had learned from previous jobs.’
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was delighted volunteers have been ‘inspired by their experiences to pursue a rewarding career in the NHS’.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard added: ‘From new starters to people who had retired, thousands took up the call to get jabs in arms in their local communities and it is fantastic that more than 11,000 people have decided to stay with us in another capacity