Essex St John Ambulance Society


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About us

SJA Society has been providing first aid training and volunteering opportunities to the University of Essex for over 10 years. We are the link between campus life and St John Ambulance - the UK’s leading first aid charity.  As a society we aim to promote the values and objectives of St John Ambulance through offering all students at Essex the chance to learn essential first aid skills and fundraise for the charity.  The society is also home to its very own operational unit, enabling students to gain operational first aid qualifications and volunteer across campus and throughout the country at a wide range of exciting events – including V Festival and London Marathon.      

Learn First Aid, Volunteer, and Socialise through The Society


We meet every Monday (6.30pm-7.30pm) for informal and fun training sessions (led by an exec member or a member of St John Ambulance itself) which cover a wide range of topics, including CPR, major bleeds, anaphylaxis, choking, and head injuries. All society members are welcome, you do not have to have joined St John Ambulance or have any prior first aid experience, to take part in the Monday sessions.

There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities that we offer throughout the year which will provide you with a range of skills, experience and qualifications for your CV. As well as this you can gain accreditation for your volunteering through V-team (run by the Students' Union) and The Big Essex Award (run by The University). Every hour you volunteer for us counts towards your V-Team certificate and can count towards either the experience or the volunteering part of the Big Essex Award. Any training you attend counts too!  The volunteering opportunities we offer include promoting first aid awareness on campus, fundraising for St John Ambulance, The Society itself, or other relevant charitable organisations and helping to support the wider St John community through acting as casualties for large-scale incident simulations, and helping to host training conferences and exercises.

If you wish to take part in our society activities after the first 2 weeks of term you will need to Join our society, this only costs £4 and lasts for the rest of the academic year.

As a member you will get:

  • Weekly training
  • Weekly Newsletter - full of first aid advice
  • Monthly Socials
  • Many other Fantastic Events


Operational Volunteering

If you're interested in taking your first aid skills to the next level, then you might want to join the society's very own operational unit of St John Ambulance that provides 'front-line' first aid care at a multitude of events, on and off campus. 

Volunteering at Regular First Aid Events

We provide first aid cover to the Students' Union venues Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We also provide cover for the BUCS sports matches held on Wednesdays. You do not have to commit to any volunteering although it's ideal to attend at least one event per month. Many of our members do much more than this because they enjoy it so much!

Volunteering at Large First Aid Events

As well as weekly events, we provide cover for many of the larger events on campus, including: The End, Summer Ball, Winter Ball, Derby day, Alumni weekend and many sports competitions. You will also get the opportunity to volunteer across the UK, our members have attended events such as: V-Festival, London Marathon, Football matches, Notting Hill Carnival, and Hyde Park concerts.

How to join St John Ambulance

If you want to help provide first aid cover at events you will need to complete SJA membership paperwork and then attend an induction course. After your induction training you will become an observer and be given an ID card. If you chose to continue you will need to complete a second course to become an FA (First Aider) within six months of your induction. You may be offered further training on more advanced skills, including AFA (Advanced First Aider), ETA (Emergency Transport Attendant) or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). You might also want to specialise in non-clinical skills and instead become a registered First Aid Trainer, Treatment Centre Manager, Radio Controller, or Radio Communications specialist.

If you would like to volunteer as a First Aider with us you will need to join St John Ambulance for insurance and training. This involves a DBS (CRB) check, and a short interview. In addition you will need to provide two references. Paperwork can take some time to complete, so it is essential that you inform your references that they will need to complete a simple form and send it back. For more information on how to join St John Ambulance please come along to one of our Monday sessions or send us an email.


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