The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) has launched a new programme called 'Volunteer to Career', which provides training on skills needed to work in the industry.

The programme "provides a direct route for volunteers to start a career with the ambulance service", a spokesperson said.

It starts with training volunteers at the East of England Ambulance Service to get the skills they need to begin full time roles.

While there is no guarantee of a job once the programme is complete, the pilot scheme has seen two graduates secure jobs in the Ambulance Service.

Grant Harvey and Matt Sharp were two of the 11 people on the programme, and were volunteer community first responders to begin with. 

They shadowed ambulance crews as well as call handlers to see which role would suit them best before they began their training.

Matt and Grant both enjoyed frontline operations and began the training.

Grant also did a four-week course to drive an ambulance on blue lights, having previously worked as a lorry driver, and will be ready to get behind the wheel when he joins the East of England Ambulance Service trust in April.

Matt will also be joining the Trust in a full time role.

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Grant said: "The support from everyone involved with the programme has been fantastic and it gives volunteers a real insight into working at the ambulance service before committing to the job full time."

Matt added: "The course was challenging but very rewarding and you always felt supported.

"I feel incredibly lucky to be the first to have gone through this route to secure a job."

Vikki Darby, a leadership development manager at EEAST who led up the programme, said: "Grant and Matt securing jobs at EEAST shows that the pathway works and we are looking to continue and develop this programme."