Awareness and First Aid

International Women's Day is an opportunity to applaud the valuable contributions and resilience of women in ER24.

Meet Liesl Wessels, EMC Learning and Development Facilitator, Northern Region and Site Based Medical Services, ER24:

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During my long career with ER24, I’ve been able to travel extensively and meet the most amazing people, most of whom will stay friends forever. I love teaching and have had the opportunity to facilitate courses and make a difference in so many lives. We live to serve – and I do exactly that.

Now, I’m responsible for all training in ER24’s Northern Region. This includes Pretoria, Midstream, Polokwane, Tzaneen, Lephalale, Witbank, Middelburg, Lowveld, Ermelo, Highveld, Barberton and Rustenburg, plus 26 mining sites scattered across South Africa and Lesotho.

Training involves annual Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) training, upskilling of staff, legislative training, and any in-house training, such as ER24 Contact Centre’s NextGen Core platform. I am also part of a group that develops short online programmes for Continuous Medical Development (CDP) and longer fundamental courses.

My role includes building relationships with my branch managers, regional managers, and, of course, the staff within my regions. I attend as many branch meetings and do as many branch visits as possible. Spending time with the staff highlights training needs that can be addressed once identified, which is very rewarding.

I initially wanted to be a forensic pathologist, but I came from a family where only men continued their studies after school. My mom found an advertisement for the Diploma in Ambulance and Emergency Care and applied on my behalf. 

I was 20 years old when I qualified as the first woman to pass and register with a National Diploma (NDip) in Ambulance and Emergency Care. I later became a flight paramedic on rotary wing, fixed wing and commercial flights. In 2009, I started at ER24 as Branch Manager for Johannesburg North and then as an operational (flight) paramedic for the next 24 years. I joined what was then the ER24 Training Academy in 2016, where I completed my BLS, ALCS and ITLS instructor courses and, in 2018, progressed to become a member of faculty on all three programmes.

In my current role as a Learning and Development Facilitator for the Northern Region and Site Base, I’m part of a small, but high-powered department. We might be few in number, but we have five very diverse personalities, each with strong, contrasting opinions. Having a female line manager contributes to making us a dynamic department within Mediclinic. She understands the “moods, temper tantrums and drama”. Humour gets us through every day – we can laugh at one another and our unique quirks!