Age no barrier to St John Ambulance role for Jeremy


Jeremy Maitland-Smith from Coolbellup is one of the first Indigenous students to take part in the Paramedicine degree at Curtin University. He is there on a scholarship from St John Ambulance WA. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Jeremy Maitland-Smith from Coolbellup is one of the first Indigenous students to take part in the Paramedicine degree at Curtin University. He is there on a scholarship from St John Ambulance WA. Picture: Matt Jelonek

JEREMY Maitland-Smith was 40 when he considered himself too old to study paramedicine.

Fortunately for him, St John Ambulance staff felt differently.

At the time, the Coolbellup resident had spent a handful of years as a volunteer ambulance officer in the Kimberley.

It was a role that showed him exactly what he would experience as a full time professional, with the 42-year-old not shying away from the realities of the job.

His experience and calm head under the pressures meant he was an ideal candidate to snap up a scholarship with St John Ambulance, which offered him the chance to further his training at Curtin University.

“After spending a bit of time volunteering in Wyndham with my wife I thought it was something I could do as a job,” he said.

“I went to the conference but I said, ‘I’m too old’.

“Fortunately they thought I’d be mature and experienced, and after doing all the testing I moved down in December.”

Mr Maitland-Smith is about to wrap up his first year of study before he hits the road as an ambulance officer in early 2017, a position similar to his volunteer role.

He said the aim is to return to the Kimberley once his four years of training and studies are up, where he hopes his story will inspire others.

“My long term goal is to inspire aboriginal people to do the same thing,” he said.

“More indigenous people should take part in scholarships and opportunities like this.”

Mr Maitland-Smith said the role was perfect for him.

“I’ve never been in a job where I haven’t been able to help people,” he said.

“I like being able to say, ‘Hi, I’m Jeremy. How can I help you?’”