Joseph Picola (second from right) is pictured with the other nominated apprentices and their mentors

Award success for ambulance service apprentice

Joseph Picola beat off tough competition to win regional award

A North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) apprentice was one of the worthy recipients at a regional award ceremony this month.

Joseph Picola, who works for the trust’s Patient Transport Service (PTS) and is based at Gateshead, beat off strong competition to win the overall Intermediate Apprentice of the Year award at the Regional NHS Apprentice Awards on 12 March.

The trust’s PTS took more than 550,000 patients to and from hospital appointments over the last year.

The 20-year-old, from Blakelaw, was nominated by his mentor and team leader.

“The night was really good and just shows you get appreciated for your work and everything you’ve done,” he said.

“It was a really happy moment and my grandma and mam were over the moon.

“I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship. You get your C1 and qualification out of it, you get to know everybody and it’s like a family, everyone at your station supports you through what you’re doing and you’re constantly learning.

“I finish on 7th April and then I’ve got a job as an emergency care assistant up at Hexham. I can’t wait!”

As an emergency care assistant, Joseph will be working on an ambulance and caring for patients, providing first aid and basic life support where appropriate.

Joseph was joined at the ceremony by five other NEAS apprentices – Callum Cooper, Karina Pringle, Chantelle Kostarelou, Hannah Greenacre and Jessica McLean – also nominated for awards.

Chantelle was nominated for the Apprentice Who Has Made the Greatest Contribution to Patient Experience/Service Delivery Award; Hannah was nominated for the Most Committed Apprentice Award; Callum and Jessica were both nominated for the Apprentice Who Has Made The Greatest Progression of the Year Award and Karina was nominated for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year along with Joseph.

They all received a certificate for their achievements.

The Regional NHS Apprentice Awards, hosted by Health Education North East as part of National Apprenticeship Week, recognise the outstanding dedication, hard work and enthusiasm of apprentices in the NHS.

Joseph’s success follows on from previous wins at the awards.

Last year, Hollie Smith, who is now training to be a paramedic, won Intermediate Apprentice of the Year. Matthew South, who is now an emergency care assistant, picked up the Apprentice that Made the Biggest Impact on Patient Care Award.

Sam McSorley, operations manager for PTS North, said: “It was fantastic to be part of the event. It was really inspiring to hear the stories of all of the apprentices nominated from fields ranging from dental nursing to admin and engineering.

“We are incredibly proud of Joseph and all of our nominees, as well as all of those who were not nominated but nevertheless do themselves and NEAS very proud in their roles. Their enthusiasm brightens up our workforce and the patients love them too.”

To find out more about becoming an apprentice with NEAS, as well as the other career opportunities within the trust, visit

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