With effect from the 1st September 2021, paramedic training will be delivered by the university sector in Scotland. This change is coming about because of changes that the Health Care Professions Council have implemented which will require all new paramedics commencing training after this date to be on an honours degree programme.
The new programme is likely to take 3 years of full time study to complete, although for existing technicians there will be a pathway to be able to enter the course directly into the second year.
We are currently exploring several options for staff in the future to be able to access these courses which include the potential for part time and distance study, scholarship opportunities and use of the existing career break policy. This does however mean that in the future progression from technician to paramedic is likely to be more challenging for existing staff and is unlikely to be funded beyond tuition costs except in exceptional circumstances.
The Service has 600 places available on the current paramedic training programme through the Academy over the next 3 years. These courses are set in the calendar and we will have 200 places (4 programmes with 50 students per programme) per year. SAS is very keen to fill every place in every programme, so that we can ensure your career aspirations are met and we have a more highly skilled future workforce. We would therefore strongly encourage technicians who want to become paramedics to do so now, and advocate that any technician whose circumstances allow, and who wishes to become a paramedic, applies to undertake their training using the current model as soon possible. Once a programme has begun and if we only have 48 candidates for 50 places we have effectively lost the chance to offer paramedic training and therefore progression to 2 people. Opportunities that we will not be able to offer again. So the optimum is to have all 50 places per programme and all 4 programmes per year filled to capacity. We want to avoid low take up into programmes in this year and people rushing in the last year or last programmes as there will not be enough places to go around. We cannot increase the number of paramedics we train without gaining approval from HCPC so there will be no scope to increase the numbers as 2021 approaches without going through a formal application.
We are aware that for some technicians that are just completing their current training there is sometimes uncertainty about when it is appropriate to apply for paramedic training. These staff can also apply as soon as they have completed their technician qualification. Remember it is likely to be a further 18 months from application before candidates will be able to register as a Paramedic, which will provide time to consolidate and further develop their competence and confidence prior to registration.
Please consider the above and act now.