AN ISLE of Wight man has swapped his career as a boatbuilder to become a clinical support officer with the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service.

Graham Thompson, of Cowes, was inspired to change his career after deciding he wanted to become a paramedic.

"My interest in things medical began when my father died in 1991, and it prompted me to take a first aid course with the St John Ambulance Service," said Graham.

"At the time I was working as a boatbuilder with Souter’s in Cowes, and shortly after I joined St John as a volunteer in my spare time."

Graham brushed-up on his academic qualifications at college evening classes and applied for a job with the patient transport service.

His first attempt was unsuccessful, but he tried again two years later and secured a part-time job ­— three months later he was taken on full-time.

Graham then trained as an ambulance technician, which included three months' full-time training and a three-week advanced driving course.

Two years later, in 2004, Graham became a paramedic following another three months' full-time training and stints in the Emergency Department, theatre, and coronary care departments.

Graham later completed an emergency care practitioner degree at Portsmouth University, graduating in 2008.

Taking on a new role for the Island as a clinical support officer, providing clinical support to paramedics, Graham is now studying a module from Cumbria University’s master's degree in enhancing paramedic practice, and aims to complete the full master's.

“I feel that much of my progression is down to the timing of courses, the opportunity to take them, and the on-going support of the ambulance service and the wider trust." said Graham.

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