New apprenticeship scheme aids route to becoming a paramedic more accessible

London Ambulance Hart Paramedics.

Bernadette Brennann, an Emergency Ambulance Crew who recently enrolled on the programme

London Ambulance Service has launched a new paramedic apprenticeship programme, which hopes to make gaining a degree in paramedicine more accessible for staff.

The nationally accredited programme will see 40 existing staff members, including Emergency Ambulance Crew (EACs) and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), gain a degree and eligibility for Heath Care and Professional Council (HCPC) registration within two years.

The course, run by the University of Cumbria, will allow clinicians who are already working on the frontline to continue to work while they progress to degree level and further develop their emergency care skills across the capital.

Bernadette Brennan (above), an Emergency Ambulance Crew based at Hillingdon, who recently enrolled on the programme, said, “It’s such a great opportunity to be able to develop my medical knowledge and clinical skills while still working shifts and getting further frontline experience. I’m so excited to be able to qualify as a paramedic and continue to care for patients the best way that I can.”

The apprenticeship is fully funded and classes will be delivered remotely by the university with the support of the ambulance service’s education team. Apprentices on this programme will also learn new skills on the job, working alongside qualified experienced clinicians and receiving support from practice educators.

The university will allow those enrolled on the programme access to an abundance of materials and resources available to other university students too.

Dr John Martin, Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer for London Ambulance Service, said, “This apprenticeship programme is a great opportunity for staff who may not have thought university was an option for them. By enrolling on this course they can now become a qualified paramedic and achieve the same high standard of training and education as those who take the standard degree route.

“We know there is a national shortage of paramedics, so, by introducing this new programme with the university, we hope to help find an internal solution to this by developing our own talented and dedicated staff and supporting them to progress in their career.”

The new apprenticeship programme runs alongside the already successful Associate Ambulance Practitioner apprenticeship, which is open to external applicants and is a route to becoming an EAC without any prior medical qualifications.

The ambulance service offers a multitude of different routes for external and internal candidates to take to develop and start a career in healthcare.