Hollie's story for National Apprenticeship Week
Date: 12 February 2023
This National Apprenticeship Week, we’re talking to members of #TeamEEAST who started their career with us as an apprentice and hearing about their journeys.
Today we’re talking to Hollie Thompson, an emergency medical technician (EMT) and apprentice paramedic working from Luton ambulance station.
Hi! My name is Hollie and I work out of Luton Ambulance Station working as an EMT and Apprentice Paramedic.
What apprenticeship did you do?
I completed my emergency medical technician apprenticeship with EEAST in May last year, and I am currently on a paramedic degree apprenticeship through the University of Cumbria.
Why did to choose to take the apprenticeship route?
I had previously completed an apprenticeship in a different industry, so I knew this style of learning worked really well for me. When I was made redundant from my previous job during the COVID-19 pandemic, I came across the apprentice emergency medical technician (AEMT) apprenticeship and knew it would be the perfect way for me to start my career in the ambulance service and learn on the job!
How does the application process work?
For the AEMT apprenticeship, the first step was to complete an application where I had to provide a personal statement as to why I wanted to join the ambulance service, along with evidence of my qualifications and a list of relevant experience. I was then invited to a virtual interview. The interview went really well as the staff were very friendly and were also able to answer some questions I had about the apprenticeship. I then had to begin the process of gaining my C1 driving license and had to provide a full DBS check before I was offered a start date on an initial training course.
For the paramedic degree apprenticeship, I had to be a qualified EMT and complete an application with a personal statement. I then had to write a 500 word essay followed by a virtual group interview.
What does the apprentice journey look like?
The AEMT apprenticeship began with a 12 week initial training course with other apprentices from all over the Trust. We were taught about a wide variety of injuries and illnesses we may come across on the road and had to pass written exams, as well as some simulations.
I then had some shifts on the road where I was third manning with ambulance crews before being sent to driving school. Here, I had four weeks to work towards my blue light qualification, learning how to drive safely and progressively under emergency conditions.
Once I had my blue light qualification, I spent the rest of my apprenticeship working as a crew on a double staffed ambulance with qualified clinicians. I had to gain at least 750 hours experience whilst completing a written workbook and gaining sign offs for skills that we use on the road.
At the end of the apprenticeship, there is a final ride out, where you are assessed for two days on your clinical treatment and decision making, before being sent to an end point assessment which consists of exams and a professional discussion.
How did you find the apprenticeship experience?
I really enjoyed my apprenticeship. It was a great opportunity to learn skills on the job and this suited my style of learning really well. The apprenticeship was challenging at times, but there was a lot of support from colleagues, management and tutors and you can learn so much from these people and their own experiences on the road. The peer support is also fantastic as you tend to go through each step at a similar time to those you did your initial training with. You can make friends from other areas on the initial training and it’s great to keep in touch and share your experiences with each other.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to other people?
I would absolutely recommend an apprenticeship to other people! If you want to pursue a career with the ambulance service and don’t think university is for you, an apprenticeship is a brilliant route to get the experience you need. Completing both the EMT and paramedic apprenticeships does take slightly longer than going through the university route to become a paramedic, but the experience and skills you gain along the way is invaluable!