This is the average working week of an apprentice paramedic from Wigan

Elle Atherton is one of a new group of apprentices working under a new scheme for North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 9:32 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 10:38 am
Elle Atherton

Elle, 24, from Wigan was selected as part of a 242-strong group of emergency medical technician apprentices for NWAS and now spends her days responding to 999 emergencies in Manchester city centre,

Elle is learning vital clinical skills on the job whist studying for a Level 4 Associate Ambulance Practitioner (AAP) qualification.

The apprenticeship began with 18 weeks of clinical and driver training before heading out on the road to gain hands-on experience working on an emergency ambulance whilst completing the remainder of the 12- to 18-month apprenticeship.

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Elle Atherton

Elle said: “I was always unsure of what I wanted to do for a career but I knew university wasn’t for me. When I started working for NWAS in an administration role I was given the opportunity to shadow an ambulance crew and I absolutely loved it.

“Working out on the road, no two days are ever the same and I’m able to put my clinical training into practice to help patients in emergency situations. I also learn so much from working alongside experienced clinicians and I’ve made loads of new friends.

“In just six months on the road I have seen such a development in myself and my skill set and ability - I continuously receive positive feedback from colleagues and more senior staff.”

The ambulance service changed the way it provides training to apprentices in May 2017 when it became an employer provider meaning it is now able to deliver its first regulated qualification in-house.

The trust has since been given praise from OFSTED and named one of the top performing apprenticeship employers in the country.

Carol Offer, Assistant Director of Workforce and Development at NWAS said: “We are extremely proud of our apprentices who are really proving to us the value that they can bring to the organisation through their skills.

“By embracing government changes, we have been able to invest further into learning opportunities for our workforce widening the depth of skills they have and ultimately improving the level of care we give to our patients.”

Here Elle shares her average working week with readers:


Today I worked on an ambulance based in Central Manchester alongside one of my paramedic colleagues.

One of the patients we attended was a 95-year-old lady who had fallen over in her house and was unable to get up. We used special lifting equipment to help her get back on her feet and was able to safely leave her at home without the need for hospital attendance. We linked in with the patient’s GP who will arrange a check-up.


Day off


Tonight was the start of a row of three night shifts which means that I work from 6pm to 6am. We attended a lady who had sadly lost her son weeks ago and was struggling with her mental health. She was highly intoxicated and unable to sit up so we took her hospital for her safety.

Another incident was a man who was in pain following an assault. The patient became quite aggressive and uncooperative but police assisted on scene and we were able to take him to hospital.


Saturday in Manchester city centre and we attended a lady in her forties on her hen do. She had fallen on the dance floor and broken her ankle. The wedding was nine weeks off so hopefully her leg will recover in time!

Another patient we attended was a lady in her twenties suffering from abdominal pain. After a full set of observations she was showing signs of a severe infection so she was rushed to hospital to be treated for sepsis.


Tonight’s shift started with a police officer meeting to give a statement following an incident last week.

Tonight we attended an elderly lady who had fallen and a young girl in a mental health crisis as well as a new mother who was suffering from severe pain in her stomach.