Fifty-two students, 80 years’ service and a sprinkling of hard work: the recipe for mentorship success

Luton mentoring pic

“Want a fantastic place to hone your skills? Choose Luton ambulance station.”

These are the words of Allan, paramedic and mentor. Allan is one of five new mentors leading the south Bedfordshire mentorship scheme – a programme based in Luton that’s been hailed as a shining example to the whole service.

With the Trust aiming to employ more than 600 new student and graduate paramedics by the end of April, many of us will by now have welcomed some of the 280 new faces already working on ambulances around the region. Inducting those staff onto stations can be a difficult task, so the Luton team have created a bespoke mentorship package to make sure they get the best out of their staff, and vice-versa.

“We’ve earmarked lines where paramedic mentors will be permanently assigned as normal, but their crewmate will be a student on a pathway,” says Allan, who has worked in the ambulance service for 11 years. “There are other lines where the students and mentors are rotated as well so we maximise everyone’s capacity and learning opportunities - we support them with everything from pathway and clinical queries to educational support.”

In addition, there is structured and protected time within the relief rota for the learners, allowing the mentors to get quality time to support staff development on an individual basis. With a mixture of students of varying experiences and backgrounds, it means the sessions can be tailor-made to each person and pick up their personal learning needs.

Allan is joined in leading the programme by fellow mentors Dave, Marc, Chris and team-leader Colin. On call to the students every shift and with a dedicated email address for queries and support requests, they have almost 80 years’ combined service experience between them to look after the 52-strong student group at Luton (which is looking to grow to 78 by end of this year), all of whom are at different stages of development. And it’s not just open to new staff, everyone can ask for extra help or support even if they are fully qualified.

Allan added: “We use assessment forms to document the learners’ progression and these can be accessed by the whole mentorship team so their individual needs can be assessed and reviewed before every shift, so the mentor knows exactly what needs the student has. We’re also encouraging the team to set long and short term goals with each person so they have targets to reach during each rotation supporting their course progression.”

The team are now looking to the next generation of staff to get on board and become mentors themselves – thanks to the new ‘senior paramedic’ role the group has 12 proactive paramedics already working hard to support staff, with a further 10 looking to join soon. But in the meantime, Allan says the only way is up: “This is an exciting time – we want every staff member to know that they are valued and there’s a structure in place to give them access to any support and guidance they need.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the scheme, you can contact the mentor team at

Published 22nd December 2014

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