The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has officially opened a new £7 million state-of-the-art education facility in Brentside, which the London Ambulance Service will use to increase recruitment and boost the training of frontline medics and control room staff.
The Mayor visited LAS’s new Brentside Education Center this morning (Monday 11 July), where he was welcomed by the Service’s Chief Executive, Daniel Elkeles before meeting a group of newly-qualified paramedics and recent graduates and being shown around the new facilities.
Before declaring the center officially open, the Mayor took part in a training exercise in our brand new ambulance simulation suite.
The suite, known as the ‘simbulance’, provides immersive, virtual training for students in which they can gain experience of driving and operating an ambulance on London’s busy roads, as well as providing the highest standards of patient care. It replicates the driving conditions of London roads by projecting video and sound to fully immerse learners, and features hi-tech, life-like Laerdal mannequin ‘patients’, which record how effectively students are performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and patient observations, to further aid their learning and standards of care. The simbulance is the only one of its kind in use by an ambulance trust.
LAS expects the new west London facility, coupled with the newly opened twin site in Newham, east London, to train about 1,000 new recruits in a variety of operational roles each year.
The newly-launched Brentside center is part of wider ongoing efforts by LAS to significantly boost recruitment and training of its operational workforce, to meet increased levels of patient demand across the capital. This month it was named top NHS employer for apprenticeships in the country and is one of only three NHS trusts in the country to make the rankings in the Department for Education’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022.
The Service is aiming to recruit more than 1,650 new staff by 2023, including 477 additional paramedics.
As well as bolstering its frontline operations, LAS will be ramping up the number of staff it employs in its 999 and 111 operations centers and boosting the volunteers who work alongside staff responding to patients.
Commenting on his visit to the new Brentside Education Centre, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said:
“I am absolutely delighted to officially open the Brentside Education Center today. I’ve seen first-hand the state-of-the-art technology being used to train new recruits, which provides the perfect platform for trainee paramedics and emergency call handlers to join the front-line and help save lives.
“A stronger, bigger London Ambulance Service is integral to supporting the wider NHS and ensuring that all Londoners are safe, healthy and well cared for. That is exactly why I’m backing the service’s most ambitious recruitment drive in its history and encouraging Londoners from all backgrounds to apply. It’s an opportunity to develop new skills and enter into a fulfilling career, making a difference for Londoners when they need it most. With this new cutting-edge training facility now officially open, there is no better time to join the London Ambulance Service.”
LAS chief executive Daniel Elkeles said:
“I would like to say a huge thank you to Mayor Sadiq Khan for joining us today and declaring this wonderful new facility officially open. We are embarking on the most ambitious recruitment program our service has ever seen, and our fantastic new Brentside Education Center will play a pivotal role in this plan by training hundreds of new operational recruits to the very highest standard each year.
“The ground-breaking technology and excellent quality of teaching at our Brentside site will help us create a new pipeline of homegrown London talent to fill a variety of operational roles at LAS, both on the frontline and in our control rooms.”
At the visit staff spoke about how the new facilities were developing their skills and improving outcomes for patients.
Paramedic Maya Christopher said:
“The training here is excellent. The equipment is very high quality so you are learning in a very realistic environment so when you go out on the road, you already know where everything is and how things work.
“This means you are confident when you start treating patients. The job can still be pretty unpredictable, you never know what you’re going to be facing each day – but that’s what I love about it.”
And associate ambulance practitioner (AAP) Faye Bittle who changed careers from an office-based role urged others who were thinking about it to find out more.
The AAP role is an entry route role to become a Paramedic without the requirement of going to university. On completing training, candidates can ultimately apply for a paramedic degree apprenticeship funded by LAS.
“This was a complete career change for me, but the great thing about this role is that you quickly learn about what life is like on the road.
“I wanted a job with more variety and this really offers that and it’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a clinical background but wants to learn about medicine.
“We are always learning – whether in the classroom or in an ambulance, there’s always support available, and you know there’s always more to learn and more ways to progress in your career.”
To find out more about working for London Ambulance and for current vacancies visit our website here.