Mum of two preparing to graduate as paramedic after finally pursuing her lifelong ambition

Gemma White in her green paramedic uniform inside Coventry University's replica ambulance

Coventry University paramedic student Gemma White

Student news

Tuesday 09 January 2024

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A mum is finally fulfilling her “lifelong ambition” of becoming a paramedic after returning to education at the age of 37.

Gemma White spent over a decade working with adults with learning difficulties and had also worked as a lifeguard and swimming teacher, before deciding it was time to follow her dream.

Now in her third year on Coventry University’s paramedic science course, Gemma, who turns 40 this month, is in the final stretch to seeing that dream become a reality.

I always like helping people and working with people and I've always had a caring side. It's always something that I've wanted to do, but just never thought I'd be able to do it.

I think during Covid it really hit home that if I was going to do it, I needed to do it now. I worked with adults that had learning difficulties for 12 years, so that really inspired me to pursue my dream and here I am.

I've got two children as well and they were getting older and I thought if I don't do it now, I don't think I'll ever do it because I'm getting older as well. I also just gave myself a kick and was like I need to do it now.

My children are really proud. They keep asking how long I've got left to go because I do say I've got uni work to do quite a lot at home. But they have really enjoyed the fact that they can say ‘my mum's training to be a paramedic’.

Gemma White

Gemma, from Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, completed an online access course during the Covid pandemic before enrolling on the paramedic science course at Coventry University. As well as lectures and teaching sessions, the course includes placements giving Gemma first-hand experience of what the job will be like once she graduates.

I like the variety of it. There's lots of different things and every incident you go to is different. I thought for me that's what I wanted to do.

The course has been challenging at times, but it has definitely helped me. The lecturing team have helped me to see that I can do it. I do struggle a little bit with my confidence, so I think I've had quite a lot of support here from my colleagues and from the lecturing team.

I feel that it's really helped me come out of my shell, as well as learning the skills that I need to go forward. A lot of times when you go to an incident, see it through and you know that you've genuinely helped that person, that's what we're doing it for.

It's been a long, hard road for me to get here, but I am so glad that I've done it and got here and anything's possible if you want it badly enough.

Gemma White

Find out more about Coventry University’s paramedic science course.