WEST Midlands Ambulance Service is celebrating over 3,500 apprentices past and present who have been employed by the trust this National Apprenticeship Week.

The week is marked across February 5 to 11 and aims to shine a light on the amazing work being done by employers and apprentices across the country.

The service is one of the first ambulance trusts approved as an Apprenticeship Main Training Provider with the Education and Skills Funding Agency for Higher Level Apprenticeships.

It remains the most productive organisation in the West Midlands region and within the ambulance sector for developing staff through the delivery of the apprenticeship standards with the largest provision of student paramedic-registered apprentices.

The trust first introduced apprenticeship programmes in 2010 with the Motor Vehicle Apprenticeship which still runs at the trust today.

To date, the trust currently has several apprenticeship routes to offer, ranging from level 2 to level 7 apprenticeships.

Since 2010, the service has seen a total of 3,977 apprentices.

In October 2012, the trust announced its Non-Emergency Patient Transport Scheme.

Over the 11 years it has recruited 289 apprentices onto the scheme.

Five are currently on programme and it is in the process of recruiting more while many have progressed onto permanent positions.

Seventeen are now paramedics with the trust, 20 are technicians, eight are progressing within the Student Paramedic pathway, four are involved in the training of staff and 82 are employed within its Patient Transport Scheme and other departments.

Director of people Carla Beechey said: “Apprenticeships are central to assist the trust to build our future workforce.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in supporting our apprenticeship schemes and assisting with the development of our staff.”

Education and apprenticeship manager Sophie Cooper said: “We’re so proud of all of our past and present apprentices and it’s so exciting to take the opportunity on National Apprenticeship Week to highlight their hard work and the development opportunities that we have on offer within the trust.”

Recruitment manager Louise Jones said: “We’re so excited to be marking National Apprenticeship Week and highlighting some of the apprenticeships we currently have available to apply for.

“It’s a common misconception that, as a service, we only recruit for paramedics but that just is not true.

"We have a broad range of apprenticeships ranging from our Student Paramedic training course, Motor Vehicle apprentices, Business Admin and much more.

“If you’d like to find out more about roles available at the trust, you can do so by visiting www.jobs.nhs.uk and searching for West Midlands Ambulance Service."