Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic helps staff find supermarket and healthcare roles

Virgin Atlantic is working with supermarkets and healthcare providers to arrange temporary and voluntary jobs for its furloughed staff.

Many of the airline’s employees have been furloughed for April and May through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

On Monday, Virgin Atlantic asked 4,000 of its staff if they can volunteer at the new NHS Nightingale hospital at ExCeL in London.

Now the airline is widening its scope and working with a range of other employers “to highlight temporary and voluntary opportunities to staff, while supporting other organisations during this time of crisis”.

These include supermarket chains such as Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland, Lidl, Asda, Waitrose, The Co-operative and Ocado, which are offering paid roles for shelf-stackers and drivers.

Other healthcare employers include the London Ambulance service – which is seeking call-handlers and non-emergency ambulance assistance – and Epsom Hospital Carshalton, where engineers are needed to help build essential equipment.

The airline is also highlighting the new NHS Volunteer Responders who can carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support those who are self-isolating.

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Corneel Koster (pictured), chief customer officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We are very grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances and we’re committed to doing all we can to support the national effort against the rapid acceleration of Covid-19.

“We are very proud of our highly skilled people at Virgin Atlantic and since the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced, we have been inundated with our people looking to help other organisations at this time of crisis.

“Many organisations have approached us with opportunities, both paid and voluntary, as they recognise the value and experience our people can bring.”

Cabin crew undergo six weeks of training as well as a yearly refresher which includes medical and fire safety training. These skills make them useful to organisations such as the London Ambulance Service and the NHS, while the customer service skills of ground teams can be transferred to retail, charity and customer roles elsewhere.

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