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Students with autism gain experience of making ambulances ready for the road

Date: 25 July 2023

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust has welcomed its first students with autism for work experience trials.

Two students from the Wherry School in Norwich – a specialist school for students with autism - joined the team at the Longwater ambulance base to try out working in the Make Ready service.

Make Ready teams are essential for ensuring that ambulances are clean and are stocked with all the essential equipment and supplies before their crew takes them on-shift.
They also clean and replenish ambulances mid-shift to ensure standards of hygiene and readiness are maintained throughout the shift.


Tom Cason (student) and Steve Hill, Make Ready Lead.
Tom Cason (student) and Steve Hill, Make Ready Lead.

The students – both 16 years old – toured the station and helped plan and prepare kit and load the ambulances.
They were mentored by Make Ready lead Steve Hill, who said:

“I’m really excited to play a part in supporting the students in gaining an understanding of working, whilst being in a working environment. I hope they enjoy the moment and take away the experience to fulfil whatever career they choose.

“They tried out many of the key roles – such as kit preparation and restocking - as well as rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in some of the less glamorous elements like vehicle decontamination. I was impressed by how much they got immersed in the role

Glenn Basham is the Make Ready group lead for Longwater and Waveney. He said:

“It’s terrific to be able to do this and it is a fantastic opportunity for both the students and for the Trust. EEAST is an inclusive employer, and there are a huge range of roles across the Trust that means we have roles that can suit everyone. It is great to assist these students in their journey to achieve their goals and also hopefully ensure we do more with this partnership.”

Tom Cason (student) and Steve Hill, Make Ready Lead.

The Wherry School caters for all age ranges, including sixth form, and teaches many elements of mainstream education curriculum alongside life skills.
Year 12 teacher Jacqui King said that specialist colleges and schools can find it difficult to identify companies and organisations that will support students with work experience. She said:

“The value of a placement with EEAST could be life changing for students who are still acquiring key skills in preparation for adult life and the Trust can offer a fantastic environment for that.

“This is one of very few opportunities students at Wherry School have had to experience work in a real setting. We are extremely grateful that the team at Make Ready have welcomed our students to enable them to gain an invaluable insight into the workplace. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the process”.

Nick Cason, EEAST General Manager for West Norfolk and Waveney, planned the project.He said:

“We’re really pleased to be able to offer this experience. I think this has demonstrates the breadth of experiences the Trust can offer as an inclusive employer and provide students with autism the opportunity to work with our staff and share experiences for mutual learning and understanding.

“It’s been fantastic to have the Make Ready team so keen to support this trial, and we hope to be able to make this a permanent offer at EEAST and potentially expand in future.

“Thanks to Steve Hill for making the experience particularly engaging and enjoyable for both students, who had an amazing time and to Dawn Whelan, the disability lead for the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, who has supported this project from the outset.”



  • Summary:

    Students from the Wherry School in Norwich joined the team at the Longwater ambulance base.