Minister visits final cohort of NIAS degree students

Date published: 09 March 2022

Health Minister Robin Swann today visited Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HQ to meet with students who are embarking on the paramedic training course in theRegional Ambulance Clinical Training Centre (RACTC).

Minister visits final cohort of NIAS degree students

This is the fourth and final cohort of paramedic students who will commence the Foundation Degree in Science in Paramedic Practice Programme at the RACTC.

Meeting the students Minister Swann said: “Paramedics are a very valued profession in our HSC system and play a key role as first responders. This role may mean providing expert telephone support to callers, treating people in their own homes or referring patients to appropriate care services in addition to caring for patients until they can be admitted to hospital.”

“This Foundation Degree course is a great opportunity for you as students to gain the knowledge and with that be acknowledged for the outstanding work you do with a recognised qualification.”

Today the students were in a classroom setting but will have the opportunity to have practice placements in an ambulance environment.  Minister visits final cohort of NIAS degree students

The Minister continued: “A paramedic’s work can be challenging, both physically and emotionally, as you treat people in a range of situations with a breadth of conditions including injuries, sudden illnesses, casualties from traffic collisions, criminal violence and fire.

“However, I know that through these challenges you will have a very rewarding career and the support of your colleagues, so as you begin your vocation I want to wish each of you every success as a vital member of the paramedic profession.”

Commenting on this final cohort of student paramedics being trained by NIAS, Michael Bloomfield, NIAS Chief Executive said: “I wish all of our student paramedics well as they commence their studies and look forward to celebrating their graduation at the end of the course. These additional staff are essential to ensure the continued supply of the paramedic workforce to meet the challenges facing the ambulance service. 

“This course brings to an end the training of paramedics by NIAS as all future paramedic education will be through the BSc course at Ulster University. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the NIAS Education Team who have trained paramedics for more than 30 years who provide the highest standard of care to the community. I would also like to thank Ulster University for their support in the delivery of the Foundation Degree over the last four years.”   

Concluding the Minister thanked the Ambulance Service for their hard work during the pandemic.

He said: “I want to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of all NIAS staff, particularly in the past two years, who in common with other areas of the health service are facing increasing demands on their services and challenges in achieving targets. Your skills, commitment and efforts are very much appreciated by myself and the citizens of Northern Ireland.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. This will be the last to go through the Foundation Level Programme at RACTC, as future paramedic education will continue via the BSc (Hons) Programme at Ulster University.
  2. This marks the end of an era of paramedic training within NIAS. With the first paramedic courses commencing in 1989 and this final one extending through 2022, the Ambulance Service in Northern Ireland has delivered paramedic training across a total of 33 years.
  3. Since 2019 some 120 students have gone through the first three cohorts to become Paramedics.  The 41 students commencing Cohort 4 are all current Associate Ambulance Practitioners (AAP) who have until now been working on Accident & Emergency Ambulances alongside a Paramedic.
  4. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:
  5. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top