Dr Na'eem Ahmed: 'Volunteering has helped in some way to secure a job that’s taken me from Westminster to Washington'

28 October 2015

Dr Na’eem Ahmed explains how running a football club helped him succeed as a doctor and how volunteering can help students graduate into a great job…

I felt fortunate to get a place at medical school but kept a sense of responsibility for my friends and community that didn’t have similar opportunities. I set up Southside Football Club with a few aims: to bring various groups of young men together that wouldn't otherwise have a space to meet, to create leadership opportunities through coaching and most importantly to have fun! I secured a grant and approached the council to support us with training facilities and a dedicated football coach.

I went on to develop my interest in volunteering by helping to establish a charity, Selfless.org.uk, an online volunteering website for young people. I'm also proud to support volunteering through my role as a Trustee at Macmillan and as an advisor to the Mayor of London's volunteering initiative, Team London. I’d argue my profession is the most rewarding career available but there's an added buzz in sacrificing your own time to help someone get along in life.

I'm now working for the most influential doctor in the country, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of the NHS; volunteering has helped in some way to secure a job that’s taken me from Wandsworth to Westminster to Washington - an amazing experience.

By volunteering I really boosted my repertoire; through my experiences I am able to show would-be employers how I can prioritise tasks and manage my time efficiently. At times, I acted as a mentor, honing my communication and listening skills. I also learned about the financial aspects of running a small organisation, like budgeting and applying for grants.

Work experience in hospitals is becoming increasingly scarce. Volunteering allows you to demonstrate the skills and attitudes that admissions tutors are looking for in future doctors. Longer-term volunteering also shows that you’re dedicated. Volunteers, on the whole, are selfless and compassionate people and all employers look to recruit people with positive values.

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