Over the past 12 weeks IT recruitment agency VIQU Ltd. has been sourcing talented IT professionals to volunteer their time to NHS Trusts across the country, including the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and the Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust. 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.
“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.”
Mike Ogonovsky - Assistant Director of Informatics at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
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.
“As I had just completed my last project and was looking for my next contract, I thought volunteering my time would be a good idea especially during the COVID-19 lockdown period. I was very happy to be able to help the NHS over a period of three weeks, supplying my expertise in integration with Power BI, Azure VM and Data Visualisation to support the East of England Ambulance Service.”
Isaacs Lufadeju – Volunteer PowerBI Developer at the East of England Ambulance Service
Some volunteering roles have been particularly heart-warming. For instance, an NHS 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 afocus, it has given them work experience to add to their CV and even job offers in some cases.
“I have a strong emotional connection with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust. They took wonderful care of my late father, so I have always considered it very important to give something back to them through fundraising. Having the opportunity to provide additional support to the NHS by sourcing skilled IT volunteers who could aid them during a time of national crisis, has been very fulfilling on a personal level for myself and the entire VIQU team.”
Vinay Sonchatla - Managing Consultant of VIQU’s Southampton Office.