It would appear that the LAS is starting to recruit a few more people. How do I know this? Well a couple of people have emailed me for tips on how to get into this job/pass the interview/pass the driving test etc…
So in an effort to increase my
laziness efficiency I am writing this post just so I can point it out to people who email me asking for advice, and this will hopefully answer all their questions…
First off – there are two routes into working for the LAS. the 'traditional' route is to apply for a place on one of our training courses, after which you are offered a place at one of the stations around London. This is the route that I took, and at the end of 20 weeks training you are an EMT-2, or as they used to be known 'Trainee Qualified Ambulance Technician'.
The other route is via the University of Hertford (and now also Kingston University, but I think you have to get on the course via the LAS), who do a degree course – It takes 3 years and when you finish the course you are a State Registered Paramedic. You are not guaranteed a job though.
More information is available via the links.
To apply for the traditional route you must…
- Be aged between 21 and 45
- Have a stable employment or education record.
- Be able to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds.
- Be physically fit with good eyesight.
- Have held a full, manual British driving license (with no more than 3 points) for at least for two years.
- Be resident in or near the Greater London area or prepared to relocate.
You should also have at least a little bit of common sense. Previous medical knowledge is not required, although obviously it's an advantage. Reading this blog should give you an idea about the work, and whether you are emotionally/psychologically suited for it.
I don't know what being in the St John's ambulance would do for your chances of getting in. While the training would be useful a fair few people still hold a grudge over the dispute in the late 1980's. It shouldn’t have a negative effect on your application, but you never know.
For more details, and to apply the important address is…
London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
St Andrews House
St Andrews Way
London E3 3PA
Tel: 020 7887 6638
Once you apply, expect to wait. Expect to wait a long, long time. I had to wait over a year to be interviewed, as it all depends on when the LAS are able to run the courses due to either manning or financial pressures.
The interview is to see what sort of person you are (duh), and to see if you will fit in with the ethos of the LAS. The questions that I was asked included 'Do you mind taking orders from a woman?' (which we all found hilarious considering that I was coming from such a female dominated profession), 'Do you have any problem with blood and guts?' and then they gave me a scenario dealing with a stroppy relative. I think there was also some of the standard questions you get in any interview, 'What qualities do you think you will bring to the job?', 'You do know that you will be working shifts?' and 'Are you a racist?'
My interview was a fairly friendly affair, but then I think I have that effect on people.
Then on another day, comes the physical/mental assessment. This involved carrying a weighted dummy up and down some stairs (with another applicant), so make sure you wear decent shoes, I was wearing my best high heels, so I had a fair bit of trouble…
Then they test your dictation/English skills, which involved copying down a text from a tape. They play the tape twice, and it's not too fast. As long as your handwriting is legible, you should get through this bit. If you think you'll have trouble, practice with a friend reading a paragraph from a book.
You also get sent a piece of paper teaching you how to put an Entonox cylinder together. You have to learn it and then physically do it. It isn’t hard to do, and they give you plenty of practice.
The maths test starts off easy, but then progresses to questions like, 'Your ambulance goes 5 miles to the gallon in town, and 7 miles to the gallon on the motorway. You travel 4 miles in town, then 7 miles on the motorway followed by another 3 miles in town.
What colour is your ambulance? How much petrol have you used?
Calculators are not allowed. Nor are mobile phones with calculator functions.
I don’t know if there are sample question sheets, but if you are not too happy with maths, then warm up your brain by doing some arithmetic before going on the assessment day.
Then comes the driving test. Essentially you are expected to drive a 14 seater van around the streets of Fulham. Qualities that the tester is looking for are – safe driving, following the highway code, and the thing that stuffed me on two occasions…”underconfidence/overconfidence”.
If you are not used to driving vans, then I highly recommend that you hire a van and drive it around for a bit. It did wonders for me. I’d also suggest that you drive it like you would drive your own car. I failed first time on the ‘underconfidence’ thing, as I was driving like a 90 year old granny with poor eyesight. I’d suggest driving as if you are driving your own car.
They do give you a couple of attempts on separate days to pass. I think there is 6 weeks between attempts though.
Hopefully, this will help you join the wonderous organisation known as the LAS.