April saw the completion of the first ever HCPC-approved paramedic programme by a Qualsafe Awards approved centre, Medipro, with 14 successful candidates eligible to become HCPC-registered paramedics – several of whom have already gained their registration number and made their way to the front line.
Qualsafe Awards and Medipro have been working on this award and programme for a number of years; it is currently the only truly vocational entrance to becoming a paramedic. This pathway is made up of a progressive suite of qualifications, which are built into an HCPC-approved paramedic programme – offering an opportunity to those who may not be in a position to undertake study through the traditional university route.
For Medipro, this marks the end of an eight-year journey to push the pre-hospital care industry forward and make paramedic education more accessible and flexible. After several set-backs and some unsuccessful partnerships, in 2016 Medipro approached Qualsafe Awards who also felt that there was huge potential for a viable, alternative route to university study.
Qualsafe Awards, at that time, had recently released a range of groundbreaking, vocational pre-hospital care qualifications (FREC). These progressive qualifications provided a route to a career within ambulance services, so the final step, to create an HCPC-approved paramedic programme, in partnership with Medipro, felt like a natural one.
Brian English, Managing Director, Medipro, said, “With shared values and common goals, our partnership with Qualsafe Awards felt like a natural fit. Their team have helped us to bring our vision to life – we wanted to create a vocational programme that would help address the industry shortfall and provide learners with an alternative route to becoming a paramedic.”
Anita Goodfellow, CEO, Qualsafe Awards, said, “Working with the Medipro team was a pleasure. Both organisations had the same goal – to offer greater flexibility for those wishing to become a paramedic, while preserving the extremely high standards in the profession.”
The newly qualified students largely come from ambulance backgrounds, with a variety of ages and prior academic achievements; this has proven to be an excellent route to becoming a paramedic, where learners have been looking for a career change or want the ability to combine work with their study. Already, MediPro has received a commitment to fill available places for the next two years from an NHS trust.
For Qualsafe Awards, having students who have come through the full FREC journey is very special; this two-year paramedic programme comprises Qualsafe Awards’ nationally recognised qualifications: QA Level 3 Certificate in First Response Emergency Care (RQF); QA Level 4 Certificate in First Response Emergency Care (RQF); QA Level 5 Diploma in First Response Emergency and Urgent Care (RQF); QA Level 3 Award in the Safe Administration of Lifesaving Medication (RQF); and QA Level 6 Diploma in Paramedic Practice (RQF).
Medipro’s programme not only accommodates those starting from scratch but also allows those who are more experienced, for example as Ambulance Technicians, through a fast-track route to fulfil their ambitions of becoming a paramedic; taking into account their current skills and prior learning.
This news has come at an especially important time, with as many paramedics as possible needed in the fight against COVID-19, Qualsafe Awards in partnership with MediPro are pleased to provide an alternative route into this fantastic profession.