Alumni Paramedic receives the Vice-Chancellors Award

10 July 2019

Ashton Sixth Form College Alumni Richard Baxendale has successfully graduated from Oxford Brookes University. 

Richard started at Ashton on a Level 2 vocational course in Health and Social Care in 2013. He then progressed on to a Level 3 vocational course in Health and Social Care at Ashton, completing his studies in 2016 with D*D*D*, the highest grade possible on the course. 

While at college, Richard took part in every opportunity that came his way. He improved his skills beyond the classroom through various enrichment programmes including First Aid training and Sign Language. As part of his course he was required to complete a number of placements in care homes, nurseries or hospitals, improving his practical skills for the real world. 

After finishing at Ashton Richard went on to study a degree in Paramedic Science at Oxford Brookes University (ranked 13th out of 71 universities for Health professions by the Guardian in 2018 ( He graduated in July and is now a qualified Paramedic. For the past couple of years he has been working with the South Central Ambulance Service who have offered him a full-time position. 

At his graduation, Richard received the Vice-Chancellors Award from Oxford Brookes University. The award is only presented to a select number of students each year who have shown particular outstanding qualities that are then recognised at graduation in front of the entire year group. 

Richard received the award for his incredible bravery and unparalleled kindness in the local community during an incident that occurred on the street of his student house in Oxford. While in his final year, Richard and his flatmates heard a noise outside of their home late in the evening. When they checked outside they were witness to a stabbing. The house Richard lived in included two trainee paramedics and one trainee mental health nurse. Using their training in the field and their initiative, Richard and his housemates attended to the injured individual. After training to be a Paramedic for almost three years, Richard commented on how strange it was to be at the other side of the phone call, now the person responsible for phoning for an ambulance instead of arriving in one. He also said that to try and help somebody without any equipment was a real stretch and it brought home the role he was training to take on. 

As a result of their involvement in the incident, Richard and his other housemates were called on to act as witnesses during the court hearing. They gave evidence on what they saw to assist the police in their inquiries and the court in making a judgement. It was the court judge who insisted that their bravery and determination to help somebody had saved the victim's life. Following the trial, the judge then called upon the university to recognise their contribution to the community; Richard and his fellow housemates were awarded the prestigious Vice-Chancellor's Award.

Since leaving Ashton, Richard has continued to return to the college to share his experiences with fellow students. He has also updated his teachers from the Education and Health department, as well as the Careers Team, on how he is getting on. Richard fondly remembers the staff at Ashton and the role they had in helping him to shape his own career path throughout his time at college.

Following his graduation, Richard was beaming with pride about not only the award but finally gaining his name on the Paramedic register - a dream he has been chasing for a number of years. His hard work has paid off and Richard continues to thrive through his work in helping others.

Find out more about studying a Health course at Ashton here

Tags: careers alumni health and social care education and health