No-one forgets their ‘First Time on the Frontline’

Friday 25th April 2014 – 11.40am – Murray MacGregor.

Six of the trust’s newest paramedics are set to become stars of the small screen when they are featured on a new 15 part documentary set to be aired on BBC 1 from Monday (28th April).

‘First Time on the Frontline’ follows the experiences of the next generation of recruits to police, fire, ambulance, RNLI and mountain rescue as they embark on their new careers. The cameras followed newly qualified paramedics from their initial assessments through to their first few shift out on the road.

The WMAS group are Sam Dupelssis Grimson, Ben Pallante and Kelly Wilkes who are all based at Erdington Hub in East Birmingham; Maya Black who is at Henrietta Street station in Birmingham; Julie Plante who is based at Dudley Hub; and Warwick Hub based Mark Edwards.

They were among the 65 graduate paramedics that the Trust took on last year (2013-14). This year the Trust will be looking to recruit another 50 graduate paramedics. As an organisation, we work very closely with the paramedic programmes at the University of Worcester, Coventry University and Staffordshire University.

In addition, the Trust took on 160 student paramedics last year and is in the process of recruiting 250 this year. They undertake a 2½ year programme which includes their university based course.

Sam said: “It was nice to be able to give the public an insight into the job we do. Given I am at the start of my career it was a bit nerve wracking but we were supported by our much more experience colleagues every step of the way. Knowing your every move is being filmed is a bit nerve wracking but you just get on with the job of helping patients first and foremost. I am looking forward to showing the grandkids when I am much older!”

Ben said: “I’ve never done anything like it before, but all of us were helped throughout the process by our mentors who were really supportive of us as we took our first steps in the profession. Overall, it was really quite enjoyable.”

Mark added: “I really enjoyed the experience. When my Dad found out I was going to become a paramedic, he told everyone, so what he’ll do when he sees me on the telly I am really not sure. I know he’s immensely proud of me doing this job so I am sure he’ll be impressed when he sees me on screen.”

Like the others, it was a completely new experience for Kelly too: “It was a bit stressful at the start having the cameras there, but it really built my confidence up. It will be nice for the public to get a better idea of the types of incidents that we deal with on a daily basis.”

The series is being shown, Monday to Friday at 11.30am on BBC1 before being repeated on BBC 2 at 7.15am the following weekday morning. In the first week, we see

• Episode 1: Sam is called out to every parent’s worst nightmare.
• Episode 2: Dramatic footage of a motorcyclist being in a collision with a van means Kelly needs to give urgent treatment
• Episode 3: Julie calls on all her training as she attempts to help a patient who can barely breathe
• Episode 4: Ben is given the task of dealing with a seriously ill child
• Episode 5: Kelly’s training is put to the test when she helps a child whose life is on the line

Series producer, Julian Dismore, said: “One of the great things about this series for me was seeing people excelling at their jobs at such an early stage in their careers. There are so few positive role models for youngsters these days – it’s all pop stars and Big Brother contestants – so seeing young professional emergency services personnel responding to 999 calls and saving lives must be a good thing!”

Recruitment Advisor, Louise Harris, who is seen in the programmes giving the candidates the good news about their new jobs, said: “We were delighted to get involved in this programme because we wanted to show what a fantastic job our staff carry out every single day.

“When you look at even just these six staff, they come from very different backgrounds and that is one of the great things about becoming a paramedic; it doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s what you do as someone who saves lives that matters.

“We are very lucky that we get applicants from every part of the region as well as further afield. Every community is represented which is exactly what we want; we want our workforce to represent the people we serve.

“These programmes give you just a hint of the fulfilling career that our staff get as paramedics. When they say that they never know what they will get every time they are on duty, they really mean it.”

Note to Editors
The pictures remain the copyright of the BBC


SamMayaSam - Ben - MayaBen Carrying DefibJulieSam - Ben in front of ambulance at duskBen - Sam coming off back of ambulance

1 comment

  1. Just watched 999 on the frontline 8/10/19 about the stabbing and death of Jordan. I feel the utmost sympathy for Jordans family but also for Haydens family as although Haydens shouldn’t have been carrying a knife everyone seemed to forget Jordan was the one who jumped out of the car and attacked Hayden with an air freshner can. I will never accept knife crime but just felt the programme seemed to forget that Hayden was attacked for no reason.

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