Student volunteers support more than 1,500 Covid tests

Ruth Peterson | March 23, 2021

A task force of student volunteers has helped more than 1,500 people test for Covid 19 as they have led the way to keep Bradford College safe.

More than 30 students have given their time from 7.30am until late in the evening to support learners and staff at the college’s Covid 19 lateral flow testing facilities.

Doing the right thing

Mark Marshall, Head of Health and Safety, said: “They have been giving people reassurance that, by having the test, they’re doing the right thing.”

Supported by Mark and Head of Work Experience and Placements Nick Scaife, students undertook online NHS training in their own time to enable them to act as volunteers.

Once they had completed this important training, they were able to work within the facilities.

Volunteers are studying a wide range of courses including Health and Social Care, Sports and Uniformed Public Services.

An opportunity for students

Mark explained: “We began to look for ways of keeping the process of Covid testing within college as much as possible without the need to use external staff.  

“Nick and I agreed that this was an opportunity to give our students work experience as well as help Bradford College support the community during the pandemic.

“So far the testing has been going really well.”

Working as a volunteer means supporting students with a wide variety of backgrounds and needs, to ensure that everyone having the test understands the process and is comfortable. Mark said: “They have been very receptive and the testing team have dealt with a range of different situations brilliantly.”

Sasha: outstanding leadership skills

Health and Social Care student Sasha Harsaniova is among the busiest of the volunteers. She supervises and oversees the tests as well as supports people to take part in them. She said: “On our first day, we came in and collected our PPE. We were taking people into the centre and explaining to them how to do their test.

“Every morning I come in and make sure everything is in the right place on the table. I like things to be really organised so everything runs smoothly!

“On one Monday morning, between 7.30 and 10am we had about 200 people come in for a test so it was really busy. Once it quietened down, we worked together to help others clear their areas and keep tables clean.”

Sasha was promoted to supervisor due to her organisational skills. Mark said: “She has been there from day one and has shown absolutely outstanding leadership.”

A strong collective effort

As well as supporting the effort to combat the spread of Covid 19, being a volunteer has provided excellent work experience. Sasha said: “After I’ve completed my course I want to train to be a teacher, leading a class and being organised so I think this experience has really helped.”

Mark said: “It’s been a really strong collective effort.”

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