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SAR paramedic recruitment advice 2018

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SAR paramedic recruitment advice 2018

Old 27th Dec 2018, 21:11
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SAR paramedic recruitment advice 2018

hi

im wondering if someone can help, im currently a hcpc paramedic and looking at bristows new advertisement for SAR winch paramedic in the uk.

i was just wondering if anyone can shed some light on what the recruitment process is like and maybe some tips here an there, or whether you are currently a serving winchmen with bristow
id be glad to hear from you about what the job actually entails.

hope to hear from some of you soon

many thanks

para
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Old 28th Dec 2018, 08:53
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You should visit your nearest Bristow SAR base and speak with the crews there. If you are in London that would be Lydd Kent. They would be happy to show you around and have a chat.
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Old 28th Dec 2018, 10:50
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Basically doing what your are doing now but on the back of a boat, the side of a mountain or in the back of a noisy helicopter - often in quite difficult conditions.

Plus you need to be comfortable in the water, even in the dark and enjoy trusting your life to a piece of wire less than 1 cm thick.

Good luck
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Old 2nd Jan 2019, 21:58
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Originally Posted by para232 View Post
hi

im wondering if someone can help, im currently a hcpc paramedic and looking at bristows new advertisement for SAR winch paramedic in the uk.

i was just wondering if anyone can shed some light on what the recruitment process is like and maybe some tips here an there, or whether you are currently a serving winchmen with bristow
id be glad to hear from you about what the job actually entails.

hope to hear from some of you soon

many thanks

para
The recruitment process depends on your qualifications beyond that of a paramedic if you’re talking about applying for one of the jobs currently online?

SAR winch paramedic or “Winchman” as most would know it from the past (just not pc anymore) is a combination of aviator, rescue specialist and paramedic. Which of those 3 skills is dominant depends on the stage of the SAR mission and is constantly variable. Put simply though, it’s the best job in the world, or at least that’s what I’m told ;-).

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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 07:39
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There is a looming demographic gap for UK SAR paramedics since the posts have traditionally been filled by ex-mil winchpersons but there is no training pipeline for those any more.

The advantages that the mil guys and girls had was that they often had other mil aviation backgrounds - support helicopters, Nimrods etc and went through a rigorous selection and training process (which many failed) so that only the best got through. That quality was evident when the paramedic training was introduced early 2000s and all but a few lapped it up and went onto attain their paramedic status.

There has long been an argument that training an existing paramedic to become a winchperson must be cheaper - the problem is the length of training required to be safe and effective on the wire and as part of a crew - those hundreds or thousands of hours of previous aviation and military exposure to risk can't be reproduced or replicated in a few short hours of wet and deck winching.

I had thought that part of the UKSAR contract was to set up a proper training school to ensure continuity for SAR rearcrew and perhaps the latest adverts are a sign that this might be happening - it's success will very much depend on the quality of the individuals they recruit and the rigour of the training.

Don't know if there is a big enough budget to achieve what is required within the current contract.......and they would probably have to up the salary by £20K to tempt those still left in the mil to jump ship.........
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 19:27
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"Don't know if there is a big enough budget to achieve what is required within the current contract.......and they would probably have to up the salary by £20K to tempt those still left in the mil to jump ship."

Just out of interest, what is the approximate starting salary for a SAR paramedic? I'd expect it to be significantly more than the current NHS Band 6 Paramedic salary that, when tagged onto the standard 25% unsocial hours allowance can top out at just over £46K per year.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 21:24
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A good bit less than that..(I can't remember if the paramedic pay takes them a little over £40K but if it does, it isn't by much)...and given than many were on around £50K when they were in the mil it was a step down, made more unpalatable when the pilots (captains) were given over £90K.

The difference is due to licences - or lack of them for the rearcrew - pilots are licensed and have market rates (primarily N Sea salaries at the time of the contract) and unions - the rearcrew have no equivalent in CAA/EASA land despite being the ones who do all the dirty and dangerous work in SAR.

There has been talk of creating a licencing system for rearcrew for many years and the CAA inspector is a fan but without industry pressure it won't happen.

The flip side is that many do less than 8 shifts a month, know for a long time in advance when they will be working and get a big cash bonus if they have to pick up an extra shift.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 01:29
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Using PA Scales for 2017-18, they start at £45316. Master Aircrew (WO1) could progress to Level 20 which is £64717. Presumably, LtCdr Observer could progress to the top at £81943. So that is the range of pay that military rearcrew would have been getting if there was still MilSAR in 2017/18. These are maybe about £2k pa higher than the scales when the contract started changing over.

Crab has mentioned CivSAR pay just breaking through £40k. A figure was mentioned to me back in 2015 of £42k which may have been the top end (and therefore not for entrants).

You can perhaps see why my first question to the previous Bristow UK SAR Director when I first met her in 2015 was "Do you think you're paying your rearcrew enough?"

Then there is the licensing issue. The current CAA regime creates the category "SAR Technical Crew". That looks good in the pages of CAP 999 but aspects of the regime appear not to have the power behind it to create a successor competence that is appropriate for this service. That is why, writing elsewhere, I coined the term "Trolley dollies in drysuits" to describe the authority's approach. The obvious way ahead is take the world-leading step of making SAR Technical Crew a licensed aviation trade. A significant number of highly experienced SAR professionals believe in that approach although many of them are not saying it out loud since it will cost their employers a few pennies. It falls to those without a glittering aviation career to protect to sound off about these unmentionables.

(Incoming! )

Sorry if that muddies the waters for you para232 but even the best job in the world can be made better.

Last edited by jimf671; 4th Jan 2019 at 01:43. Reason: Spell.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 10:55
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SAR winchmen, paramedics, trauma teams, mountain rescuers, firemen et al...have never been properly remunerated for laying their lives on the line. A conundrum indeed.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 18:28
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Well the cadetship requirements are now out in the open. Good luck.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 18:40
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Interesting read, basically you can be based anywhere in the UK and salary not stated. Have heard probably low 30's initially??
Such a dilemma, potentially a 10K paycut.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 20:13
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Ohh this is very interesting, would probably jump ship from the NHS if I was successful.

Thanks people
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 17:54
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You can start your training by waking yourself up at 2am and driving around in the hosing rain staring out of the window for a few hours - a good simulation of a night search (of which you will do plenty). Or, wake up at 2am, have a coffee and prepare a load of kit then try to go back to bed (good simulation of a cancelled night job)

Sadly, there is nothing to prepare you for the 200 -mile transit out into the Atlantic, opening the cabin door to look at the 30 -50 ft waves and the boat you are going to be winched down to pitching, rolling and heaving in a very alarming fashion - how are you with motion sickness by the way?

I wouldn't want to be accused of sugar-coating it - it probably is the best job in the world but it takes balls of steel. Just glad I always got to be up the front in the warm and generally dry cockpit.

Good luck
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 20:03
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Warm and dry? You flew a sea king.... Rumour pay as low as £25k. They are calling it a ‘cadetship’ after all. And if you can’t make specific dates then you’re out...? Doesn’t sound like you’ll get the best candidates that way. Also I would love to see half the current UKSAR senior rearcrew achieve what’s being asked, especially those at the top of the tree.
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 20:56
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Hedski - I did say 'generally dry' ie it was dry when it wasn't raining

The cadetship stuff makes for interesting reading - lots of emphasis on physical fitness despite there being no requirement for existing technical crew to demonstrate that level of fitness nor even hold a class 2 medical............eyesight requirements anyone?

The shorthand seems to be 'We'll pay you as little as we think we can get away with and we'll post you where we like during your training - just don't expect anywhere down South until you have a few years under your belt'.

They could just pay a 3rd party provider to select and train new technical crew..............but they'll still have to do something about the salary....
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 22:41
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isit right theres only 4 vacancies? it says 4 cadetships? that seems very low, or isit 4 groups? therel be a lot of competition if theres only 4 vaccancies.
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Old 14th Jan 2019, 00:56
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I was really looking forward to this opportunity. The job sounds absolutely fantastic.
I'm in current paramedic practice, ex Fleet Air Arm flight deck crew, I also hold a pilots license and class 1 medical. So a solid aviation background.
But if its £25,000 or even £30,000 I can't justify it. Paramedics on the road are on £45,000 Inc unsocial hours (top) , it would be to much of a pay cut.
Just says salary to be discussed?? Surely the pay should be at least the equivalent


​​​

Last edited by pipertommy; 14th Jan 2019 at 02:07.
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Old 14th Jan 2019, 09:10
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I believe you'll see a max of £35k, even after training until you can work your way up the pay spine. I gather they were warned about low salary but ignored the advice.

Apparently some AA charities are looking after their own paramedic contracts around the £50K mark so even more competition.
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Old 14th Jan 2019, 09:54
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Morning all,

First post so be gentle! It mentions on the pack...

'DO NOT START the application process if you are unwilling to undertake and pass (at your own expense) the PPL(H) Meteorology and Navigation exams prior to attendance at Selection.'

What would the cost of this be any ideas been phoning around a few places and pretty much got chinned off!
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Old 14th Jan 2019, 15:55
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
- They could just pay a 3rd party provider to select and train new technical crew..........
Could you recommend anyone? Cobham perchance?
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