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News / City Life

Quit your job, become a... first-aid trainer

Katrina Carolan, 42, first-aid trainer and assessor at St John Ambulance

What's an average day like for you?

‘It’s all about lifesaving skills, really. I put people into groups and they’re taught the recovery position, CPR, how to deal with choking – all the outcomes they’ll need when they’re fully qualified.’

When you teach in schools, how do you persuade kids that first-aid isn't totally uncool?

‘If you know that you’ve saved someone’s life, you get a hell of a buzz, that’s what I say.’

Have you saved anyone in real life?

‘I have, on my lunchbreak! I did CPR on a guy who’d collapsed at Leytonstone station and he survived. Normally when you do CPR alone, rather than working in a pair, they’ve only got a 15 percent chance of living because one person on their own gets knackered. But I was in that 15 percent!’

Sounds daunting...

‘It is scary doing CPR or being with a casualty who’s had a severe stroke. But when you know they’ve survived, that makes it better because you know you’ve used your skills to bring them back.’

What's your least favourite part of your job?

‘I don’t think there is one; I love what I do. I’ve said to people, “If you love first aid that much, become a trainer and you’ll be paid to do something you love.” Because not many people can say they love what they do and get paid for it. I’m blessed.’ 

Hours: 30hrsp/w

Starting salary: £14 p/h

Qualifications: Teaching qualification

Or, why not become an air traffic controller?

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