Five things I’ve learned from being a St John Ambulance Youth Leader

It’s National Volunteers' Week! Read about the things 18-year-old Tony from Liverpool learned from volunteering with St John Ambulance.

Youth Leader Tony voting at British Youth CouncilThere are variety of roles and a lot to get involved with at St John Ambulance

I joined St John Ambulance in January 2014 after taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme in the summer. On the programme, I was trained in basic first aid. After the training, the trainer mentioned that she was helping to start up the St John Ambulance RISE project in my area, a project that supports young people not in employment, education, or training. She asked if I would like to get involved. Since this day, I have had many roles within the organisation from being a cadet to now a unit manager, youth leader, national first aid advocate and British Youth Council (BYC) delegate - to name a few.

You can pass the torch and train young people in lifesaving skills

As a cadet, I gained my BTEC level 2 in Peer Education. This allowed me to go out and train many groups of young people the lifesaving skills which I was learning each week in my cadet meetings. This experience gave me the enthusiasm to become a youth leader as soon as I turned 18. I am now a youth leader for two RISE units in Liverpool, and even a unit manager for a cadet unit in St. Helens, which has been a challenge, but an amazing opportunity to see the unit grow.

You can help at many big events around the country

As soon as I turned 18 and could drive, I was involved in the Chester Marathon and the Marilyn Manson concert in Manchester, Apollo. I have loved every event and have continued to fill every minute of free time with volunteering as a first aider.

It can help you shape your career

St John Ambulance has changed my life - such a cliché, but true. I orignially wanted to be a teacher, but now I am now going to St. George’s University in London so I can drive an ambulance with bright blue flashing lights around the streets, saving lives for a living, with a BSc Honors degree in Paramedic Science.

You can be the difference in your community

The past two years have been an unbelievable, eye opening opportunity to gain skills. I feel so deeply about getting the knowledge out there so these basic skills are learned by the public. In October, I gave a speech on behalf of St John Ambulance at the Conservative Political Party Conference and my aim is to get first aid being taught as a compulsory subject in schools. Unfortunately the bill didn’t pass in Parliament this time, but the saying I live by is, 'why be passionate without putting your heart and soul into keeping that something alive?'. Within my roles as British Youth Council delegate and the national first aid advocate, I will continue to promote this cause so that more young people are inspired to learn basic first aid skills, so they can be the difference in their communities.

Your donation could help support volunteers like Tony