A PONTYPOOL St John Ambulance volunteer will travel to Africa to teach life-saving skills and first aid to local people.

Rhys Collier, 22, from Griffithstown, who works as an emergency controller with the Welsh Ambulance Service, will fly out to Zambia with 11 other members and two training development advisors today.

The team will spend eight days in the region teaching first aid skills to volunteers of St John Zambia and members of the public.

Healthcare in Zambia was recently made free but the demand on the clinics is overwhelming, with one doctor for every 14,000 people, compared with one in 600 in the UK.

The aim of the trip is to develop first aid trainers in the city of Lusaka who can pass on their knowledge to local people.

Mr Collier was nominated to take part in the scheme, funded by the Assembly’s Wales for Africa initiative, by members of St John Ambulance Griffithstown for his past work with the charity.

Mr Collier, who is also a sports instructor with the Sports Council for Wales' project, Dragon Sports, will also teach sports and first aid in schools during his visit.

He said: “I feel excited and honoured to be apart of the team going to Zambia. It’s an entirely new experience for me which is really good, because I enjoy new challenges The thing I’m looking forward to the most is meeting the locals and finding out about their culture and way of life.”