Madeleine Sullivan, left, and Megan Kendall with Penrith Ambulance Station Operations Manager Nick Griggs.
A pioneering partnership between a Cumbrian College and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has led to ground-breaking opportunities for young people who want to become the next generation of emergency care professionals.
In what is believed to be a “first” in the region, 16 –18 year olds at Newton Rigg College are studying emergency care, with both classroom learning as well as accompanying ambulance crews on 999 call outs, and working full 12-hour shifts.
The industry-informed curriculum is designed to open up new career possibilities for students. Jane Sullivan, Director at Newton Rigg College explained: “This really was a meeting of minds between the college and North West Ambulance service who are keen to see more young people becoming paramedics. It is unique in that as far as we’re aware, there is no other course specifically designed for further education students in our region which is industry- informed and combines practical skills and classroom learning with first-hand experience of the working life of a paramedic.”
She added: “It will also broaden horizons as students become aware of the career paths of working in Accident and Emergency centres, perhaps in the military, as well as the chance to further their knowledge, or gain a degree in paramedic science.”
Watched by Nick Griggs, Megan Kendall gets used to working in the close confines of an ambulance while fellow student Madeleine Sullivan plays “patient”.
The course was designed by the College and NWAS Practice Education Facilitators, with Operations Manager at Penrith Ambulance Station Nick Griggs acting as local lead and organising work placements.
He said: “This scheme is a brilliant way of capturing students early and preparing them for a career. Whether they go on to further studies to become fully-qualified paramedics or into employment, it’s a fantastic experience for them.
“We hope that by getting a flavour of working for the service that it will encourage the students to take up a career within the ambulance service; we see it as being able to grow our own talent here in Cumbria.”
Newton Rigg College became part of Askham Bryan College in 2011 and has a wide range of courses – from engineering to forestry, from agriculture to floristry, animal management, sport, gamekeeping and equine. For more information see www.newtonrigg.ac.uk