More than 1,000 decide to join NHS after being COVID-19 vaccination volunteers in the Midlands

Over 1,000 (1,052) people across the Midlands who joined the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme have decided to stay on in the health service in other roles, in a huge boost to the region’s workforce.

People across the Midlands came forward to support the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme, and with training and skills built up over the pandemic have now gone on to jobs supporting medical teams, boosting patient experience and even studying for clinical roles themselves.

The expanded workforce will help the NHS tackle the elective backlog as services bounce back across the country and help patients get the best care possible as quickly as possible.

Ben, aged 19, worked in retail before the pandemic hit. He now works as an apprentice in the Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust’s Temporary Staffing Team after supporting his local vaccination centre. Ben enjoyed being part of the vaccination programme so much he applied for a full-time apprenticeship to remain in the health service.

Gillian aged 51, worked in financial services before a change in circumstances meant she had more spare time. Gillian volunteered at her local vaccination site before securing a Personal Assistant role within the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Executive Department.

Eleanor aged 24, who worked for a pub chain was furloughed during the pandemic. Eleanor now works in the Midlands NHS regional communications team. She said working in the vaccine programme was the ‘best thing’ she’s ever done.

The NHS has put a huge focus on workforce retention ensuring that people who came forward to help with the largest vaccination programme in health service history are encouraged and supported to stay on in new roles.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust and Joined Up Care Derbyshire hosted a successful drop-in career event specifically for vaccination programme staff and volunteers at Midland House Vaccination Centre, Derby. The event was designed for staff to learn more about services delivered across Derbyshire and explore career pathways available to them in the NHS.

Tracy Allen, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust (DCHS), said:

“We held a successful recruitment event to encourage people who’ve been working flexibly as part of the vaccination programme into roles within Joined Up Care Derbyshire, our local health and care system.

“More than 100 people attended, some were interviewed and offered permanent jobs, many more registered for permanent work and our recruitment team came away with some really innovative ideas about how to make joining us that bit easier. It makes me very proud to see my colleagues leading the way in this integration.”

Matthew Day, the NHS England and NHS Improvement director responsible for Specialised Commissioning and Health and Justice across the Midlands, said:

“It’s great that over 1,000 people across the Midlands have remained in the health service after helping deliver the most successful NHS vaccination programme in history.

“Thousands took up the call to get jabs in arms across the region and it is fantastic that so many have decided to stay with us in another capacity, taking on one of the many rewarding roles across the health service.

“With more than 350 different roles within the NHS – there are roles for everyone so please search NHS careers today, if you are interested in joining us too”.

Eleanor Barraclough, who worked for the vaccine programme after being furloughed from her job in the pub industry and is now part of the Midlands communications team said:

Eleanor Barraclough

“When I was furloughed, I knew I wanted to help the NHS out in any way I could. I joined the NHS vaccination programme in January 2021 and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

“Over a year later I’m now working full-time in the NHS and love it. The vaccination programme showed me what a great organisation it is to be a part of. Every day I go into work and I know I am helping people and making a real difference to their lives.”

Ben Robinson, who started at his local vaccine centre after working in retail and is now part of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust’s Temporary Staffing Team said:

Ben Robinson

My favourite thing about working in the vaccination centre was hearing the stories of some of the patients and providing support to them. Just seeing patients come in and out with a smile on their face meant we were doing something right which I took home with me as a small achievement day by day.

“I enjoyed my time at the vaccination centre so much that I wanted to progress into a permanent role in the NHS. I enjoy helping people and even though my job isn’t directly with patients, it still gives me a great sense of satisfaction.”

Gillian Lemmon, who volunteered at her local vaccine centre following a change in circumstances said:

Gillian Lemmon

“I received the ‘Calls to Arms’ invite in November 2020 and quickly responded with my interest to help out with the vaccination programme and offer whatever skills I had.

“My plan was to help out as much as possible and then return to my role in Financial Services. As it was, my time working for the NHS made me re-think my career and I was offered a role as a Personal Assistant. I certainly have no regrets!”

Since December 2020 thousands of NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme volunteers have helped to deliver more than 22 million doses to all age groups, including more than 6 million boosters in the Midlands.

The NHS COVID vaccination programme is now rolling out spring jabs to the most vulnerable eligible groups, in line with JCVI guidance, as part of its newest phase.

Spring booster jab appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently on the NHS website and people that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.

Hundreds of sites in the Midlands including community pharmacies, vaccination centres and hospital hubs are offering spring boosters to those most vulnerable to coronavirus. Local NHS teams are also offering vaccinations in care homes with hundreds of visits taking place.

For more information on NHS careers please visit