News : Want a Change of Career? Ambulance Service Holds Open Day
Bicester, England, Jan 16, 2017 -- The ambulance service will open its doors to the public as it tries to sign up new recruits.
Following the success of last year when 500 people attended the recruitment days in Bicester, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) hopes Saturday's open day will spark the same level of interest.
Forty people were hired from the open day in 2016 and Cheryll Sumner, a 111 call handler based in Bicester, was one of the new recruits.
She said: "We attended the open day at SCAS here last year, my husband and I because we were being really nosy and wanted to see what was going on.
"It was an interesting day, a really good day.
"I enjoyed the environment, I liked the buzz of the place so I thought I will apply - what have I got to lose?"
Applying for a job at the trust's call centre she said it was the right career move for her.
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She added: "Being a 111 call handler means that I spend the day talking to people who phone in with numerous issues and medical problems and we make a difference to what their day's outcome is.
"If you are thinking of coming along just do it.
"It is an exciting and vibrant place to work."
Visitors to the open day can see Mrs Sumner in action as staff give guided tours of the call centre throughout the day.
Across the trust 290 people are employed in Oxfordshire as part of the 999 service with another 90 people employed in non-clinical roles.
Information will be available to visitors who are interested in clinical, frontline roles and non-emergency.
There will also be an education team on hand to speak to youngsters who are finishing their GCSEs and A-Levels.
Melanie Saunders, executive director of human resources at SCAS, said the trust had developed a strategy to appeal to all members of the community.
She said: "We have had a real drive to focus our efforts on recruiting for the trust and last year's open day was such a success we wanted to do it again.
"Over the last year we have completely changed our website, so it is more focused on finding job opportunities in the trust.
"We will also be launching soon a youth site aimed at secondary school students to get them thinking about the careers they could have with us."
But Mrs Saunders said the challenge now facing the trust was keeping hold of its paramedics.
She said: "Fifteen years ago a paramedic would start and finish their career with us in the trust.
"But now they can work in minor injury units, GP surgeries, so there is a lot more choice for them.
"Of course that is wonderful for the profession that it is so widely appreciated and recognised.
"But it obviously makes it harder for us."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About South Central Ambulance Service:
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire in the South East England region.
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017