From education to employment

Staff build on literacy and numeracy skills

Lincolnshire Ambulance service staff have had their reading, writing and maths skills tested to highlight areas for improvement. The project, “Test the Ambulance Service” was organised by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and UNISON (the Ambulance service union) and took place over a week last December.

Over 80 EMAS members of staff were tested and more than 25 have committed to take up further learning. EMAS Chief Executive, Paul Phillips, was one of the staff tested, he said: “this was an excellent opportunity to encourage staff to take to take a mini quiz to test their skills in maths and English, which is part of a whole organisation approach to developing skills for life”.

EMAS is signed up to the Government’s Skills Pledge, a voluntary and public commitment to help employees to gain valuable qualifications, the equivalent of five GCSEs.

Together training officers from EMAS and UNISON Learning Reps went out to 11 ambulances stations and liaison points to encourage staff to take the test.

“Across the Ambulance Service there is a growing need to make sure that staff are trained to a very high level. However if they are unsure about numeracy and literacy then they can feel challenged and put under pressure,” said UNISON Learning Representative Keith Underwood. He said it was important staff were given the opportunity “to carry out their work to as a high a level as possible” as well as being given help with their personal lives.

The project was seen as such a success that it is hoped it will be repeated across the whole of the East Midlands and UNISON will use this project as national example of good practice. The tests are confidential and staff are given advice afterwards about how to improve in areas they find challenging.

Marie Kemplay

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