Derby Grammar School student Jake McCandless is celebrating after achieving his Corporal stripes for St John Ambulance.

Jake, 15, attends Derby’s St John Ambulance Unit where he learns about first aid and volunteers at public events.

The teenager attended a weekend Cadet Leadership course to earn his stripes and he is keen to pursue a career in paramedic science when he is older.

He said: “I have always wanted to do something medical from a very young age. I put my name down for St John Ambulance and was on the waiting list for about three months before I started in September 2018.

“I’m a member of the Derby City Unit and there are about 40 of us. I go once a week and we start off with a parade and then we run through different elements of first aid such as resuscitation and bandaging. Then we move on to subjects to get badges; these don’t necessarily have to be linked to first aid. We’ve looked at subjects like finance and drugs education.

“In order to earn my stripes I attended a Cadet Leadership weekend for the East region which was held in Kettering. There were about 40 of us there and lots of them had been in St John Ambulance for much longer than me. A lot of them had been in it for about three or four years so I was one of the fastest to achieve my Corporal stripes.”

During the course, cadets are put in a situation that is new to them and they are given a problem and have to come up with a solution. The aim of the course is to form new leaders who will develop their decision-making skills and gain a sense of pride in being a Cadet in St John Ambulance.

Jake said: “I really love being in St John Ambulance; I love the fact that it’s an opportunity to help people. I do event cover which can involve football matches. I’ve helped in a lot of situations from supporting people with mental health issues to helping someone unconscious in the middle of the road or someone who has cut their finger.

“I’m looking to do paramedic science in the ambulance service when I’m older. It’s great that I’m getting the experience to treat people by being a Cadet in St John Ambulance.”

Derby Grammar School - Jake McCandless
Jake McCandless, 15, is a cadet corporal with St John Ambulance