Inspiring BME communities through student paramedics

While 14% of the UK population identifies as coming from a BME background, just over 7% of paramedics are from BME groups. To address this gap, Health Education East Midlands commissioned Sheffield Hallam and Northampton University to create images and videos of BME case studies to provide positive role models for prospective students who want to pursue paramedicine as a career.

Danny Chow

The case studies touch on issues around race and religious barriers, moving away from home, changing careers and give a realistic overview of the paramedic course and profession. They will be showcased at outreach events across the city in the hope that it will increase the number of BME learners studying to become a paramedic.

The work has already been recognised as an example of best practice in a University Alliance report which looks at how institutions are working hard to improve access and attainment for underrepresented groups.

Danny Chow, a Sheffield Hallam paramedic student, said: "There aren't a lot of Chinese heritage paramedics in the ambulance service from my experience and I've always been a bit of a mould-breaker in my family and I do things very differently from everyone else.

"For me, coming across a career that no one else that I know of from the Asian community has gone into, I never saw it as a barrier, I saw it as a way to be ground-breaking and saw it as an opportunity to open doors for other people.

"Potentially, you've got people out there who could be fantastic paramedics but they don't apply because they've never heard of it."

Ruth Allarton, head of department for Allied Health Professions at Sheffield Hallam, said: "This has been a fantastic, collaborative project that helps to capture the essence of what is an exciting and rewarding career. We hope these encouraging films of our paramedic students help to build confidence amongst BME communities and inspire them to take that first step towards their dream careers."

You can watch more videos on the Sheffield Hallam University You Tube channel.

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