140 IT professionals offer their services during pandemic.
Over the past twelve weeks IT recruitment agency VIQU Ltd has been sourcing talented IT professionals to volunteer their time to NHS Trusts across the country, including Trusts in Birmingham and the Black Country. This has culminated in VIQU placing over 140 IT volunteers within the NHS.
After having multiple out of work IT contractors contact them, offering their services for free or significantly reduced rates, VIQU considered whether they could offer sourcing IT volunteers as a free service to the NHS.
Oscar Research provided VIQU with access to their database of public information, which included the names of the CEO and Head of IT for each NHS Trust and blue light service in the UK.
Mike Ogonovsky, Assistant Director of Informatics at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said, “When we were initially approached by the guys at VIQU, we were worried it was some sort of scam. Instead, what we found in our hour of need was masses of goodwill, expert IT volunteers and much needed help to support our Health Board, which has been hit hard by COVID-19. The impact of these volunteers has been felt by our medical staff and our appreciative Informatics team.”
After reaching out to every NHS Trust in the UK, VIQU had a lot of interest from Trusts looking to temporarily fill roles such as developers, project managers, business analysts, cloud consultants and infrastructure support/ deployment.
Initially these volunteers were needed because of shortfalls in skillsets due to self-isolation or sickness, however, a lot of Trusts realised this was a fantastic opportunity to take volunteer contractors on board to assist on projects and give expertise that they would not have been able to secure in normal circumstances due to funding and other internal factors.
Alex Michael, Volunteer Scrum Master at North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, added, “Like many people I have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It resulted in me losing my contract. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed VIQU post a request for a volunteer Scrum Master to support the NHS. From a personal perspective, my closest friend and mother both work on the frontline for the NHS, so being able to give back and support them with my skills is the least I can do. I want to support them as they are supporting us.”
Some volunteering roles have been particularly heart-warming. For instance, a Trust had stopped all patient visitors, including visitors to a ward for end of life patients. VIQU arranged for volunteer engineers to configure over 200 iPads, and visit the ward, in full PPE, to show the patients how to use them so they could spend time with friends and family.
Everyone at VIQU has been inspired by the hard work and diligence each volunteer has applied to their position. Many of the volunteers were made redundant or had their contracts cancelled, due to the COVID -19 crisis. Not only has volunteering provided them with a focus, it has given them work experience to add to their CV and even job offers in some cases.
“This is my tenth year in the recruitment industry and I can honestly say it has been the most fulfilling one for me. Since our Managing Director Matt Collingwood reached out to all of the UK Trusts, I’ve never been busier! It’s been stressful for the whole VIQU team, but seeing the burning desire of IT professionals to donate their time has been truly humbling for all of us and something we will never forget,” commented Nicholas Hopkins. Associate Director at VIQU.