AACE Chair Daren Mochrie praises the continued progress of Ambulance Service Apprenticeships

The Story of Ambulance Service Apprenticeships

This National Apprenticeship Week we’ve been looking back at the growing role of apprenticeships in the Ambulance Service.

In 2014, the UK ambulance service Chief Executives collectively agreed to an Education Reform Project for the development and delivery of regulated qualifications for the ambulance workforce. HCPC Paramedic qualifications had previously moved to higher education institutes.

This project then overlapped with the development of the new apprenticeships standards and the ambulance sector established the ambulance trailblazer group with all 10 English Ambulance Trusts engaged in the development of the following apprenticeship standards

  • Ambulance Support Worker (ASW) Level 3 (approved June 2018)
  • Associate Ambulance Practitioner (AAP) Level 4 (approved January 2017)
  • Paramedic Level 6 (approved August 2018)

The Associate Ambulance Support Worker and the Associate Ambulance Practitioner Apprenticeship standards are delivered by ambulance trusts as employer providers.

1,205 Apprentices have successfully completed the Level 4 Associate Ambulance Practitioner (AAP) apprenticeship

  • 34% with Distinction
  • 57% with Merit
  • 9% with Pass

251 Apprentices have successfully completed the Level 3 Ambulance Support Worker (ASW) apprenticeship

  • 38% with Distinction (there is no merit grade in this apprenticeship)

Ambulance trusts are also delivering the Emergency Services Contact Handler Apprenticeship standard within 111 and 999 contact centres. This apprenticeship is also used by Ambulance, police, fire and 111 services.

Paramedic apprenticeships commenced in 2020, with the existing ambulance workforce being provided with this development route to become paramedics.

Daren Mochrie, AACE Chair and NWAS CEO, commented:

This has been a huge transformation for ambulance education delivery. Apprenticeships have given Ambulance trusts a fantastic tool to enhance the learning programmes and to continue to develop a workforce who are delivering the best patient care.

I am extremely proud of our apprentices and the incredible teams who make these development opportunities possible, not only here at NWAS but across the country.

Over 1,200 apprentices have now successfully completed their Level 4 Associate Ambulance Practitioner apprenticeship with 91% scoring a merit or higher. A further 1,200 apprentices are currently active on this apprenticeship and despite the challenges of the pandemic apprentices have continued to progress.

We are also delivering apprenticeships for our 999 and 111 call handlers as well working with external providers to deliver these in many other specialties. It’s fantastic news that paramedic apprenticeships are also now being delivered with more trusts commencing programmes over the coming months.

I am really excited about what we have achieved so far and look forward to what we will achieve in the future.

Carol Offer, Ambulance Apprenticeship Trailblazer Chair, said:

We are really fortunate as a sector that there are only 10 English ambulance trusts and that we already have a very strong education. We work as a sector to standardise and harmonise our education as much as possible, so apprenticeships were a natural step for us and we are able to include all 10 English Trusts in the trailblazer group.

The high percentage of merits and distinctions is credit to the fantastic education teams delivering the programmes and to the apprentices who are committed to being the best that they can be.

More information on the various ambulance service apprenticeship roles is available via the regional ambulance trust websites – you can link to them from this page.

Further details on Paramedic apprenticeships can be found here.