Five minutes with St John Ambulance Student Volunteer of the
Medicine student Ranvir Cheema at St George's, University of
London and volunteer first aider has been awarded as our first
Student Volunteer of the Year.
This is the first year we have run the Student Volunteer of the
Year award. We want to recognise the amazing contribution students
make to our charity's lifesaving work. And as it's Student
Volunteering Week, it's the perfect opportunity to celebrate the
positive impact students have on their communities through
volunteering. We talk to Ranvir about how he first became involved
with St John Ambulance and what it means to him.
How did you hear about student
volunteering at your university and what made you want to
I stumbled upon the LINKS stall at my university's Freshers'
fair and the thought of being trusted to drive an ambulance on blue
lights and getting into some of the top events around London for
free seemed too good to be true!
What is a day in the life of a student volunteer?
It varies - I am at university during the day and many weekends
and evenings are devoted to St John Ambulance activities.
What does volunteering for St John Ambulance mean to you?
Being part of a team that goes out and saves lives, facilitating
students at south London universities to volunteer for St John
Ambulance and encouraging their development.
What has been the highlight of your time as a student
Recently, staring on Channel 4's 24 Hours in A&E was an
unexpected privilege! Visiting our LINKS units is undoubtedly the
most enjoyable part of my job. I love seeing the passion our
volunteers possess and witnessing their fantastic achievement is
truly humbling. It's also been great to see the growth that we have
achieved in LINKS unit in south London. When I started, the units
were fairly small and now, we've doubled the number of units
altogether, providing almost 9000 hours of volunteering in 2016.
How has volunteering helped you with your career?
Volunteering with St John Ambulance has allowed me to meet so many
fantastic people! Recently, I met a consultant whilst volunteering
at The National Service of Remembrance, who kindly offered to
supervise me for a university project. Having the opportunity to
undertake this at the top hospital where he works was a fantastic
How do you manage the time commitment?
Many of our LINKS volunteers dedicate a weekday night o undertaking
training at their university based units and then get involved at
weekends and during holidays too.
What skills has being a volunteer taught you?
In my clinical role as an event first aider, having the
privilege of treating patients has vastly improved my communication
and clinical skills, allowing me to develop the skills that are
taught at university. My management role has allowed me to work as
part of a fantastic team, engaging with senior managers, setting
strategy and representing St John Ambulance at various external
organisations and ultimately enabling LINKS volunteers in south
London to continue volunteering!
Would you encourage others to become St John Ambulance
Without a doubt! Volunteering with St John Ambulance has
provided me with so many amazing opportunities. If you're at
university speak to your student union and find out if a LINKS
society exists and how you can get involved. And if you don't have
a unit at your university, get in touch and we
can help you set one up!
Want to see more?
Some of our student volunteers have been busy vlogging. Take a
look at our playlist on our St John Ambulance YouTube channel.
Student volunteer vlogs