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24 January 2014, 06:10 | Updated: 24 January 2014, 11:43
After criticism of a lack of frontline-staff, the Cambourne-based East of England Ambulance Service is recruiting 400 new student paramedics.
A student paramedic recruitment programme has been launched to help fill hundreds of frontline vacancies in the region's ambulance service and offer career opportunities to scores of people in the east of England.
The new Chief Executive of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), Dr Anthony Marsh, who has pledged to tackle the issues facing the Trust, said it was "a great step forward for staff, patients and local communities".
Dr Marsh said: "This programme will secure new employees for the service who will learn on the job and in the classroom. It is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever thought of becoming a paramedic and helping people in their community, sometimes in their greatest hour of need."
"We are aiming to recruit 400 students, and while this may be an ambitious target, it means we will have a whole lot of fully qualified paramedics on the road responding to our patients in the future. This is a great step forward for our service."
The training programme for a student paramedic to qualify takes two and half years to complete and EEAST will then offer the successful participants full time paramedic contracts.
Dr Marsh added: "This is a really exciting opportunity for people who want to work with us and who want to care for patients almost straight away. We will be giving students vital hands on experience throughout the course, and offer of a job at the end of it."
As well as recruiting new students, the service is continuing to recruit graduate paramedics and qualified technicians and paramedics.