New Start: from theatre to mortuary

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Rob Mookhoek - bringing skills from the theatre into the funeral world

East London mortuary assistant Robb Mookhoek explains why he gave up the theatre world to make his way in the funeral industry …

Since leaving school I’ve worked in various backstage roles and also in in stage management.

I count myself as being extremely fortunate to have toured the length and breadth of the UK working on world class plays and musicals, including productions in London’s West End and even Monaco.

In March 2020 the true impact of Covid-19 became clear, and unfortunately this had a huge impact on theatres and live events.

With a career change in mind, I looked into the funeral industry as an option to make a living, at the same time as trying to help where so many were struggling.

With the death rates sadly spiralling, I decided this was the route I wanted to take and I haven’t regretted it for a single day.

I started off as a funeral services operative in August 2020 and I’m now a mortuary assistant in Walthamstow, East London. I’m hoping to start training to become an embalmer in 2022 to further enhance my skills and experience.

I never would have thought 10 years ago that I would be doing what I am today. However, if there is one thing the pandemic has taught me it’s never say never!

The transferrable skills I have utilised are organisation, time management and the ability to work strongly as a team to satisfy the customer.

I have learned technical skills which have enabled me to progress within the profession.

I feel I have grown in confidence and tapped into my existing traits of empathy and compassion and grown these further. I have also learned a huge amount about the industry.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to transfer to the funeral profession and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me.

As told to Sharon Barnard