They are part of North West Ambulance Services’ (NWAS) first-ever cohort of emergency medical technician (EMT) staff to study the paramedic apprenticeship and complete the course.
The BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science (Apprenticeship) Degree was launched in February 2021 in partnership with the University of Cumbria. As apprentices on the programme are EMTs, it takes them just two years to complete compared to three years for a traditional degree in paramedic science.
EMT 1/Paramedic Apprentice Tom Wilkes, says: “The journey has been challenging, in a good way. It has been great to develop my clinical skills whilst growing individually, especially with putting my skills into practice to help patients. For me being a paramedic means having the autonomy to make critical decisions whilst forming part of the wider multidisciplinary team to benefit patients and colleagues.”
All ambulance trusts in England are developing new paramedics through this apprenticeship route. NWAS is one of seven ambulance trusts that teamed up with Cumbria University for this exciting progression programme. It has seen around 1000 paramedics trained in the last two years nationally, significantly increasing the country’s paramedic workforce.
Within NWAS, the programme is open to our existing EMTs that hold the Level 4 Associate Ambulance Practitioner Diploma to enable them to become fully-qualified paramedics.
This means the highly respected profession is open to our existing workforce. They can continue to work as an EMT whilst gaining a full BSc (Hons) in Paramedic Practice, allowing each ambulance service to develop its staff and grow its own workforce.
The apprenticeship offers recruits blended learning to allow them to continue their normal frontline roles while studying. This involves a mixture of classroom and online learning, practical sessions, tutorials and non-ambulance placements within NWAS.
Carol Offer, NWAS Assistant Director Workforce and Organisational Development, says, “This apprenticeship has given our existing EMT staff a new pathway to develop their careers as paramedics. It also enables us to develop our workforce, and nurture and shape the talents we already have.”
Redferd Ashcroft, NWAS Senior Learning Development Advisor who has supported all the cohorts on the programme so far, says: “I am immensely proud of the hard work, resilience and dedication displayed by all of our apprentice paramedics. It has been an absolute privilege to watch their skills and confidence grow throughout the programme. I look forward to seeing how they continue to develop within the paramedic profession.”
There are now seven cohorts on the paramedic apprenticeship within NWAS, with three new groups starting every year.
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Top Photo caption: (L to R – Leanne Boon, Newly Qualified Paramedic, Tom Wilkes, Apprentice Paramedic and Amy Evans, Newly Qualified Paramedic).
Photo caption: (First cohort of EMTs to complete the BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science (Apprenticeship) Degree).