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Successful Reinvention Story – from Mechanic to Paramedic

Peter Dawson, Paramedic, Bankstown Station

Website Mechanic to Paramedic News Sept 2011

“I am a paramedic, currently based at Bankstown. I have also worked at Taree and for a short while at Balranald. I joined Ambulance in 2006, after facing a career dilemma, as to which path to follow. I wanted something challenging and with a lot of variety.” 

“I was a mechanic for 20 years prior to becoming a paramedic. I have also worked as an outdoor educator/ wilderness trip leader and soldier in the Australian Army.”

“I was always into Scouts and helped a little with my brothers Scout group. I then got involved with youth, as a church youth leader 20 years ago. I moved to the Royal National Park to be an outdoor educator and maintenance worker, for the Anglican Church. I didnt have any formal qualifications at the time I was initially employed as an abseiling instructor, due to my amount of experience.”

“I moved into a role of wilderness leader with a Youth at Risk program that was run throughout Sydney. These trips involved taking a group of youth, a police officer and youth worker on a nine day trip. These trips involved hiking, abseiling and canoeing, and were usually held in very remote areas of NSW. The programs ran for nine weeks with follow up activities to modify the behavior and attitudes of the students. This was my full-time job, so when I was not on a trip I was organizing for the next one or conducting the follow up activities.”

“I guess I come from a time when experience was the most important qualification. I had a rough childhood, and had turned my life around so I felt I understood what these kids were dealing with and could contribute something positive. The Anglican Church ran training in areas such as lesson plans, human development and skills development. I saw some very amazing changes in these kids lives, and am very thankful I could be part of it.”

“My wife and I attended DOCS training when I got involved in foster care about 15 years ago initially providing emergency accommodation for two sisters from a very dysfunctional background. The dynamic of the house changes with the personality of the child. The best part of caring for the kids is seeing them blossom in a loving household. The challenge is to gain the trust of these broken hearts that have been let down numerous times in their lives.”

“The thing that stands out to me the most is the lifestyle that is accepted as normal by these kids, after some of the things they are exposed to. We have cared for several children from three to fifteen years and it can be quite challenging, especially when the child has had a tough upbringing and has inconsistent behaviour.”

“I have always had a good rapport with young people but it has reinforced to me the benefits and blessings of a stable, loving home life. I can often empathise with youth from difficult backgrounds I try to make them feel heard, understood and respected.” 

“I am married to Jeni and we live in Engadine, Sydney with our two children, seven-year-old Lily and two-year-old Zach. I enjoy mountain bike riding and adventure activities, although I find with two young children, being a Dad is my main activity at the moment. Im looking forward to sharing experiences with my family as they get older. I have already taught my daughter to abseil, and have taken her through some canyons!”

The Reinvent Team would like to thank Ambulance Service of NSW for this article. If you would like more information on Ambulance Service of NSW please contact Reinvent on 03 9866 2111

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