Be Inspired Series
Big Bus Coordinator
What does your job entail?
My main duties involve working with companies, community groups and health trusts to organise bookings for the charity's Big Bus mobile unit, which offers breast screening and cancer prevention services in communities across Northern Ireland.
The job entails a lot of forward planning to make sure the Big Bus service is provided to all parts of the province. My other duties involve managing staff, their rotas, budgets, arranging maintenance for the bus and funding applications.
I also do some public relations and media work to promote the Big Bus, working with other Action Cancer staff and the main sponsor of the Big Bus - SuperValu, who provide the majority of the funding for the service and also PR support.
Is it 9-5?
Normally I work from 8am to 4pm, however I do need to be flexible. For example the Big Bus operates from Tuesday to Saturday and usually sets off for its destination at 7am each morning, returning to base after 5pm. I need to be on call to deal with any queries between these times.
How did you get into this line of work?
A few months after my dad died of bowel cancer I decided to look for different ways I could help other people in similar situations. While searching online for volunteer posts I noticed a temporary administration job at Action Cancer. The initial job was short term, however, as the Big Bus was launched in September 2006 it meant that there was more work available and the organisation decided to extend my contract.
Outline your career to date?
When I returned home from England my first job was with the civil service. I later moved in to a marketing role with a bathroom supplier, leaving that post to look after my father, who was ill at the time. I began working with Action Cancer when I was 21 in a temporary capacity, but in 2007 I moved into a permanent post as Big Bus administrator. Having worked with the bus for several years I was then promoted to Big Bus coordinator in 2010.
Tell us about your qualifications/training.
I recently finished an NVQ in business studies, and I will begin a Certificate of Professional Competence Management course in January. Before that I studied law, business studies and sports studies while living in England.
Are there any projects you are involved in at the minute, which you are particularly proud of?
Services provided on the Big Bus include digital breast screening for women aged between 40 and 49 and over 70, health promotion and MOT health checks for men and women. We also provide information on complementary therapies and other cancer support services such as counselling and support groups.
The services on the Big Bus are constantly being reviewed and developed. One of the most recent developments has been the introduction of a full body composition analysis using the latest technology. This provides clients with information on their height, weight, body mass index and more, and also offers health awareness and weight loss guidance. Action Cancer has introduced this new service in an effort to help combat the rising incidence of obesity, which contributes to cancer risk for many people.
What qualities are required for your job - personal and professional?
In my job no two days are the same, each day brings a different challenge that needs to be dealt with to keep the Big Bus and its services on the road. It requires me to be flexible, be able to multi task, problem solve and have knowledge of the services we are providing to our clients. As my team are mostly out on location my job requires good communication and planning skills to make sure everyone knows where, what, and when things need done.
What is the best advice you ever received?
'He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life…' One of my youth football coaches used this Mohammad Ali quote in a pre match team talk before a big cup final. Any time I’m faced with a difficult challenge in my personal or professional life I think of it.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend a lot of my spare time playing football, training and fundraising for Action Cancer. I’ve run the Belfast and New York marathons, as well as the Ards and Lisburn half marathons. I also trekked through Tanzania as part of the Action Cancer tribal trek to raise funds for the charity and have raised well over £6,000.
Who has inspired you most in your life?
My family inspire me every day. I have also been inspired by some sporting heroes like Mohammed Ali, Lance Armstrong and Henrik Larsson.