Royal approval for scheme encouraging ex-forces personnel to join ambulance service 

A national scheme that encourages military leavers and veterans to join the ambulance service has received the Duke of Cambridge’s royal seal of approval.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is one of the first 30 Trusts to sign-up to the Step into Health initiative, which is aimed at encouraging people from a military background, or their dependents, to embark on a new career in the NHS.

The Duke officially launched the programme during a ceremony in London in January, which was also attended by the EEAST’s Director of Service Delivery, Kevin Brown and Armed Forces Champion, Terry Hicks.

Mr Hicks said: “We are proud to be part of a scheme which is supporting the people who have put their lives on the line for this country, and their families. It was great to be part of the official launch of the Step Into Health Programme, which we know will make a big difference.

“Veterans and people who are leaving the armed forces have a superbly transferable skill set and aptitude to working in a dynamic and diverse environment which will make a tremendous impact within the communities that EEAST serves.”

Members of the armed forces with health-related skills and qualifications will be encouraged to take part but there are also a host of other opportunities available within EEAST and across the wider NHS that don’t require any formal clinical qualifications.

Careers are not limited in the NHS to front-line roles but also include maintenance, administration, finance, communications and management. There are also opportunities for work placements and training opportunities for people from military backgrounds.

Terry Hicks added: “Work placements are designed to provide members of the armed forces the chance to gain experience along with understanding of where skills are transferable and career opportunities. We are working with the Forces Career Transition Partnership to offer a variety of appropriate placements across the Trust.”

Step Into Health was developed by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Walking with the Wounded, and The Duke of Cambridge’ charity, The Royal Foundation.