A local paramedic inspired students at Stratford-upon-Avon College when he met Health & Social Care learners to talk about his career and experiences as part of an ambulance team.

James Barry, who studied Health & Social Care at the College himself, responds to medical emergencies from Hollymoor Ambulance Hub in Birmingham.

He spoke to the students about all the benefits of a fulfilling career as a paramedic and answered their questions about the many patients he has treated in a variety of different – and occasionally highly unusual – locations. The students, much to their delight, even got to practise techniques using equipment James has to hand when on calls.

Paramedic James Barry (third from left) with Health & Social Care students (left to right) Chelsea Stokes, Millie Timmins, Ethan Meddoms, Ellie Campbell and Nurell Carter

James, from Studley, graduated from the College in 2015 and immediately joined the ambulance service as a Student Paramedic, embarking on a two-and-a-half year on-the-job training programme.

He explained “The job is obviously very rewarding and I love it because I get to make a difference. I’ve never liked the idea of sitting in an office all day. I need to be out and about, not knowing what I’ll be responding to next.”

James has wanted to work on an ambulance team for as long as he can remember. “My family are all in the emergency services – mainly the police. I wanted to follow in their footsteps and I soon realised that I prefer the medical field.”

Initially studying A-Levels at sixth form, James decided that academic study was not for him. “After transferring to Stratford College, I found that the style of practical learning on a vocational course suited me much better.

“I can’t fault the lecturers at the College. They always push you to achieve your very best. On my Health & Social Care course, I was able to choose course units that were all directly relevant to working as a paramedic. I was even able to take on work placements in an ambulance crew while studying on my course.”

Thanks to James’s inspirational visit, it seems likely more Stratford students will choose a rewarding career as a paramedic.