Valentine, Mass Vaccination Centre

Valentine Enete, BSc (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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“We need to help make the world a better place.” 

This is what inspires Valentine Enete, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at the University of South Wales (USW), to undertake voluntary work. 

After arriving in Wales to study last year, Valentine was keen to find volunteering opportunities in the local community.

“When I entered the UK, I already had it [volunteering] in mind. In my country, Nigeria, we do what is called National Service for one year,” he said.  

“During the process you do something to help the community, such as visiting people in hospital who don’t have relatives coming to visit them, so they need someone to keep them company.” 

Valentine signed up to the University’s Civic Engagement Scheme emails, which regularly sends out details of volunteering opportunities. A job was advertised to volunteer as a Meet and Greet Hospital and Mass Vaccination Volunteer in Cardiff, which Valentine thought would suit him. 

“When I saw the email about being a mass vaccination volunteer, I thought - this is what I love doing. I filled out the form and sent some references. I had an interview in late December and I got a job offer. My first shift was on the 8 January at the Splott Mass Vaccination Centre in Cardiff,” he said. 

“The job is very flexible. All the shifts are listed on a Google sheet, and you can choose the hours you want to work, and the location. I’m travelling from Treforest, so I like to do up to three shifts at a time. Shifts are usually two to three hours each. 

“The role of the volunteer is to speak to people who are booked in for a vaccination. We tell them if they are going to be receiving a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, we explain to them where they should sit after the vaccination and we let them know that if they have any reactions they should raise their hand, where we will direct them to a nurse.  

“So, my role is to inform them about the vaccine, direct them, help maintain social distancing, and make sure people wear a face mask and sanitise their hands.” 

Valentine explained that he feels compelled to volunteer to help with the efforts of NHS staff during the pandemic. 

“I had heard of the NHS, but I didn’t know much about them, so I googled them. I read about how, during the pandemic, hospital staff were overwhelmed,” he said. 

“So, I thought that I have to contribute myself. We need to help make the world a better place. I feel like if I have free time I should help, just like a community service.” 

There are also personal benefits to volunteering, which Valentine says he often tells his friends about to encourage them to get involved. 

“I will keep telling my friends [to volunteer] because some people just need someone to push them. You can meet people who go to other universities, and you can associate with other people from other cultures. I like learning more about where I live.” 

For some people who are interested in volunteering it can be hard to know where to begin, but Valentine said that there is help on offer at USW. 

“As a student, I know there are people that have free time, so I encourage them to choose a volunteering job,” he said. 

“I would refer people to the Civic Engagement Scheme who has more information on volunteering opportunities. Choose a job that is flexible for you, choose something that will help the community. When you fill out the form you can indicate the sectors you want. 

“It’s worth doing, and I think what’s worth doing is worth doing well. Anything you can do to help is worth it.”