A former PE teacher from Hertfordshire, Ben Lees, 48, was honoured with the prestigious Good Work Award by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at a ceremony held on November 2.
Ben’s journey, marked by a life-altering car crash during his teens, ultimately led him to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a paramedic.
At the age of 19, Ben was left fighting for his life after a devastating car accident that left him in a coma, with a broken neck and severe head injuries. Although he eventually recovered, the incident left him with debilitating seizures and the loss of his driving license. Despite these setbacks, his determination to become a paramedic never wavered.
Unable to pursue his dream immediately, Ben enrolled in university and qualified as a PE teacher, working in various schools in Hampshire and Hertfordshire.
However, his aspiration to work on ambulances lingered, fueled by the memory of an ambulance medic visiting him in the hospital after the crash. More than 25 years later, when he regained his driving license, Ben seized the opportunity and successfully applied for a position as an Emergency Medical Technician at the London Ambulance Service.
He later earned a spot in the LAS paramedic apprenticeship scheme, bringing him one step closer to his lifelong ambition.
At the 2023 Adult Learning Awards ceremony held at City Hall, Ben’s remarkable professional journey and dedication were acknowledged as he received the Good Work Award from Mayor Sadiq Khan. Ben noted the honour, stating, “I have dreamt of getting where I am for nearly 30 years. Getting this recognition from the Mayor feels incredible.”
Ben’s journey was further marked by his openness about his ADHD diagnosis, a condition he had initially masked during his early years in the service. By sharing his experience, he hopes to empower others with similar diagnoses to speak up and seek the support they need to excel in their careers.
Damian McGuinness, Chief People Officer at London Ambulance Service, commended Ben’s determination, stating, “I am in awe of Ben’s determination to pursue his dream career and getting where he is today. Having got to this point while overcoming real challenges is incredibly inspirational.”
In a double win for the London Ambulance Service, the organisation was also recognised as the Apprentice Employer of the Year for the second consecutive year.
You can find out more about London Ambulance Service apprenticeship opportunities, on their dedicated web page.