After achieving her BA, Sam began teaching children on the edge of exclusion whilst completing a PGCE. But she didn’t feel it was for her and so she sought to diversify her career. However, the jobs market seemed to be against her and even though she was applying for 20-30 jobs weekly it was largely without success. In 2014 a dejected Sam joined PROSPECT, a 16-week pre-employment programme. Sam accepted an administrative work-placement to develop a new initiative supporting some of the most vulnerable patients and says this is when “her life changed”!
After 2-weeks intensive off-the-job training Sam was working 30 hours per week voluntarily. She rapidly developed and extended the role to meet the needs of both the organisation and the patients. Sam began with simple data input and coordinated the activities of 20 Therapeutic Volunteer Assistants (TVAs). By utilizing her vast range of transferable skills Sam’s helped to create, over the last year, a community network of almost 600 TVAs.
Sam’s developed working partnerships with local schools, colleges, universities and organisations to create real work experience opportunities for others. Through Community Bridge and Momentum she’s developed and supported work experience placements for people with learning and physical disabilities.
There’s nothing else like the TVA initiative in the country and it has been duly recognized for the significant difference it makes to peoples’ lives, winning a host of awards.
Sam aims to increase the number of TVAs in the Trust, rolling the programme out to the wider organization. She hopes to QCF accredit the TVA training and complete her TAQA qualifications to enable her to assess whilst bringing more of a teaching element into her role in the future.