Recruitment Initiative

Monday, 17 November, 2014

Thames Ambulance Service often struggled to recruit staff in the East of England area. David Jones, Deputy Director of Operations at The Thames Group had a eureka moment and last month they announced the successful graduation of 6 students from a Sector Skills Academy which was run from their own HQ in Canvey Island, Essex.

Here David Jones in his own words explains the unique recruitment process:

For the time the Academy was running it was the only Ambulance specific one of its kind in the UK; a fact that makes us even more delighted by its success.

In September 2014 it was becoming increasingly apparent that Thames was having difficulty recruiting staff for the East of England area and I decided to approach our local Canvey Job Centre for assistance. Although I had used the Job Centre years before, in Hackney and Romford, and was familiar with the level of support that I had received from them, I was still not quite prepared for what happened next.

I arrived at the Job Centre unannounced at 11.00am and was greeted with open arms. By 1.00pm I was back at HQ with the Light bulb Training Company and the Job Centre, and by 3.00pm the contract was signed and the Ambulance Specific Academy was born.

Thereafter the 14 initial recruits received 5 weeks of training including functional skills, health and social care NVQ, ambulance service basic mandatory training and First Person On Scene (FPOS). During this training period there was a natural attrition rate as people realised that the ambulance service was either not for them or they failed assessments resulting in leaving the programme.

Finally in October 2014 the Academy students passed out with an awards ceremony in early November, where the successful core nucleus of 6 remaining students received certificates and trophies to signify their achievements.

Although 6 successful students out of 14 may seem a little low, this method of recruitment and training truly works and I remain convinced by the calibre of the remaining cadre that they will go on to be long serving loyal members of staff. Some may even go on to become paramedics.

All 6 have now further signed up to a 12 month apprenticeship programme to become qualified Emergency Care Assistants (ECA).

I would like to congratulate the 6 successful students and to thank all those that have supported the Academy. We have since run a second mirror scheme in Ipswich and 2015-2016 sees us well ahead with plans to run more Academies and to extend our EDEXCEL Centre registration to include IHCD Ambulance Technician.


Article submiited by

David A Jones LCGI, M inst LM, Tech – IOSH , MASI

Deputy Director of Operations – The Thames Group

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