Zoe Emergency Care Assistant at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Zoe, 26, recently undertook a pre-employment programme with The Prince’s Trust and is now an emergency care assistant at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS).
I started working at the age of 16 (now 26), I didn’t feel that I ever found a role that I was excited about.
Even from a young age, the ambulance service was always on my mind. When the pandemic started, I saw how the NHS joined forces to battle the virus and I became inspired seeing and hearing from my family, who also work within the NHS, about everyone’s efforts and determination to protect their patients. I knew this was where I wanted to be. I’ve heard lots from my close family about the benefits of working for the NHS and as a young mum these really appealed to me.
I’ve always been a people person and have held aspirations to become a paramedic but was worried I wasn’t good enough or educated enough to pursue this career due to my lack of A Levels or degree. I didn’t feel supported at college and university wasn’t particularly appealing to me, but I felt I was never informed of alternative careers to consider. I have always doubted my abilities and feel I gave up for a while. Had I have known about the emergency care assistant (ECA) role much earlier, I would have applied sooner.
How could employers make it easier for people like you to think about working in the NHS?
I think clearer pathways rather than what skills, education or experience is required would really help young people explore job possibilities more, while being mindful of capturing people’s attention.
I also believe promotion of the partnerships NHS employers have with other organisations is key. When I heard of the partnership between SCAS and The Prince’s Trust, it was like a dream come true.
Perhaps the NHS could offer a driving-related roles the option of a salary sacrifice scheme to help those who are unable to afford the cost of the C1 driving license?
How has the support from The Prince’s Trust helped you to start your career?
Attending SCAS’s virtual session about the ECA role really helped me understand the job requirements, without this session I would be none the wiser.
I would never have been able to afford the cost of the C1 licence without the help offered by The Prince’s Trust. But it’s not all about the funding, the help and support received from The Prince’s Trust has been outstanding. I have been in contact with them on a regular basis and they are always at the end of the phone when I have needed them at every step of the way.
I’ve always believed the Prince’s Trust were there as a charity to help neurodiverse job seekers into roles, never did I think they also help and offer support to young people like me.
I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today without the support I have received from the Prince’s Trust, I cannot praise them enough. They helped me get my foot in the door and I will always be grateful. Not only were they there on the end of the phone whenever I needed them, but they helped me frame my CV, offered mock interviews to prepare of the real thing, gave me advice, coaching, and offered me a mentor, all for free.
Find out more about how your organisation can partner with The Prince’s Trust and way to improve your youth recruitment pathways.