Throughout Black History Month we are celebrating the achievements of black colleagues within our Trust.
Jacob Agoro, is currently associate quality and governance lead, Kirklees and Calderdale CAMHS but will shortly be taking up a new role in December as matron for rehab and recovery in Calderdale and Kirklees.
“I began my career with the NHS as a porter in a mental hospital in East London. One day a manager encouraged me to go for a health care assistant role. Despite initial reservations I went for it and ended up working on an acute ward at first, then in the PICU.
“I got another break when a different manager encouraged me to start training as a nurse, which I did in 2008. In 2012 I got my first job as a newly qualified nurse on Ward 18 at the Priestly Unit in Kirklees.
“I was excited to be up North- the biggest change was people being friendly! It wasn’t just neighbours who would speak to you, even complete strangers in the street would say “hello”. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in London.
“From Ward 18 I moved to Elmdale ward in Halifax, again as a staff nurse. My goal was always to work in forensics and my next move was to Bronte ward at Newton Lodge in Wakefield. At this time I was still a band 5 but really building my experience.
“In 2015 a job came up working as a band 6 mental health practitioner in Kirklees and Calderdale crisis team. I applied and got it. Two years later the service manager post came up. It felt right to apply so I did and got that job too. First of all I managed the Kirklees CAMHS core team and the Kirklees/Calderdale crisis team, but after some service changes I took over the eating disorder team and crisis service across Kirklees and Calderdale CAMHS.
“In December I will begin a senior management role. I’ve no intention of doing anything different in a hurry, but positive change and improvement are definitely big priorities for me. No one comes to work in the NHS to do an average job, we want to aim high and offer outstanding services to the local people we care for.
“It’s been an interesting journey for me. I started as a porter, now I’m a matron. I’d encourage colleagues to dream big and really go for it in their career. I think being born in Nigeria really helped me. Nigerian culture has given me a friendly, helpful and ‘can do’ approach to work.
“Black History Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Afro Caribbean staff in the NHS. I’m fortunate to say that my ethnicity has not been an issue for me in my career. I believe that hard work and ability speak for themselves and there’s no reason why anyone can’t better themselves.”