We spoke to trainee paramedic Joe Strauss at Kingston College in Surrey who told us about the alternative route he is taking to become a paramedic.
Joe Strauss is a 20 year-old trainee paramedic who has wanted to be a paramedic for quite a while. After passing his GCSEs, Joe struggled with studying A-levels for a year and finally decided to quit school three years ago to work full time at a local boatyard where he’d previously been working part time and in school holidays.
There’s more than one way to be a trainee paramedic
Undeterred, Joe still wanted to pursue his goal of becoming a paramedic one way or another and with his mum’s help, he found out about the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Paramedic Science course at Kingston College in Surrey. You don’t need A-levels to get on to this trainee paramedic course – anyone who is under 24 years of age, who has no Level 3 qualifications, and has had a job for two years can apply to do the course. The course is free and is funded by government grants.
Where do I look for trainee paramedic courses?
Who can become a trainee paramedic?
Joe told us that there are all sorts of people of different ages and abilities on his paramedic trainee course and that he is one of the youngest students in his group. Joe’s fellow students tend to have come from related backgrounds and they include an ambulance call-handler, a St. John’s Ambulance Service volunteer, a police officer and a hospital security officer. You can read other articles about being a paramedic on our dedicated web page by clicking here.
What’s involved in a trainee paramedic course?
The trainee paramedic course Joe is enrolled on is very intensive. The course is equivalent to doing three A-levels in one year and it involves attending college for two days a week. Joe was told that the trainee paramedic course involves a lot of hard work but despite his initial worries about whether he would be able to cope with academic study, he decided that the course was right for him because it’s short and is totally focused on the thing he wants to do.
What are the options once you’ve finished the trainee paramedic course?
Joe is now coming to the end of his paramedic trainee course and he’s decided to take the student paramedic route into employment once he has his diploma. He had considered going into the Army to further his career but he’s decided that he would rather work his way into the paramedic profession via the student paramedic trainee pathway.
The student paramedic route
The student paramedic course will require Joe to study for one day a week at university. The rest of his week will be spent working hands-on, on the job, with a team of qualified hospital-based paramedics. The student paramedic course comprises an initial 12-week training period followed by 12 months working in a hospital as a trainee paramedic and a further 6-7 weeks spent working with a hospital paramedic team before Joe can fully qualify.
Qualifications and voluntary work useful to a trainee paramedic
As far as other qualifications go, Joe is a trained CFR (Community First Responder). CFRs are volunteers attached to the ambulance service, who can get to local emergencies very quickly and provide on-the-spot emergency care until an ambulance arrives. It’s a really good idea to get some voluntary first aid or first response training under your belt if you’re interested in becoming a trainee paramedic. You can train as a first aider with the British Red Cross or you can join the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade as a volunteer to gain some emergency response excellent training.
Where can a trainee paramedic find work?
Joe says that once he has his diploma he will spend the summer looking for suitable student paramedic positions within hospitals around the country and that staff at his college have been very supportive all the way through his course, helping him with essay writing, research and job searches and applications.
What Joe likes about being a trainee paramedic
Joe told us that he is enjoying his course very much and that he’s coping well with the academic nature of the course because all the hard work he’s doing is worthwhile as it’s going towards getting into a career he is passionate about pursuing. Moving On wishes him the best of luck and we hope to catch up with him at a later date to see how his trainee paramedic career is progressing.