Developing wearer-tested operational uniforms

Workwear Group Uniforms is responsible for providing apparel and footwear for paramedics, volunteer ambulance officers, call centre operators (triple zero calls), support staff and doctors that are a part of the MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval team.

Website title | Work Wear Group Uniforms


SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) has a workforce of more than 2600 career and volunteers that provide emergency medical assistance, treatment and transport, non-urgent patient transport and high-quality patient care to the people of South Australia. Workwear Group Uniforms was awarded the uniform contract in 2011 (and renewed in 2020) and is responsible for providing apparel and footwear for paramedics, volunteer ambulance officers, call centre operators (triple zero calls), support staff and doctors that are a part of the MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval team.

As per the tender process, Workwear Group Uniforms' in-house design team presented a range of concepts that covered each work stream within SAAS. In order to create a compressive offer, the team nominates a working group of experts, both within Workwear Group Uniforms and career experts.

Working with career experts, Workwear Group Uniforms has established a 'Day in the Life' program, whereby our team members go onsite and work directly with the uniform wearers. This allows us to see firsthand how the environment the uniform is warn in, understanding the physical challenges in which our uniform needs to perform in.

For the SAAS project, we assigned our Senior Industrial Designer Mark Godoy to spend time with the doctors that will ultimately be wearing this uniform. Mark flew to the South Australian hanger where the MedSTAR team are stationed and observed 5 long standing team members, all with 10 plus years’ experience.

Within Workwear Group Uniforms we have years of experience servicing Emergency Service organisations across ambulance, fire, police and defence. Although at the core of each organisation is to “serve and protect” we approach each program as if they were our only client because when it comes to protecting and saving lives, a one-size fits all approach does not do the wearer justice. The needs of the MedSTAR team are incredibly unique, and through this experience, Mark was able to see why their requirements are very different to what “on the ground” paramedics require.

The most obvious is the requirement to be in the air and understanding the compliance required to take off. The expert team members showed Mark how they prepared to get into the aircraft.

Mark explained, “when the team was walking me through the process of getting into the aircraft, they put on a harness and buoyancy vest which they have to wear, and so when they put that on we could see straight away what it covered. All of a sudden, you can see that having pockets on the chest is out the question, it just doesn’t work. When you look at a typical paramedic that is out on the road, they have full access to their arms and chest and this is a workable area. So then my next thoughts were what do you need to carry and where does it need to be?

“We then walked over to the training aircraft where they simulate working on a patient and explained the actual working space. This is where ideas of creating storage pockets and loops on ankles, calves and thighs come from, because it is in the immediate area of use and accessibility.”

Mark returned to Workwear Group with a presentation of his findings and some incredible and unbelievable stories that the doctors and paramedics shared with him. It was through these extraordinary anecdotes the team came back together and finessed the designs for the new SAAS range.


Workwear Group Uniforms is still developing this new range with the SAAS team, however with a clear understanding of the needs and requirements, the team has been able to narrow down selections such as the fabrications that would be appropriate and support this needed functionality. Without the 'Day in the Life' program, we would not have been as considered at this stage in the process.

Workwear Group Uniforms prides itself on its approach to safety, and it is at the core of every program we run. Our inhouse resources are in a constant state of research and development to ensure we are offering our clients the latest in technology and innovation.

Before we roll out a new uniform, we want to make sure that all of our research and designs work in practice, and we run a vigorous wearer trial. This includes team members from SAAS, wearing the uniform for a period of time, in its intended environment and checking that it meets what we say it will do. Throughout the program, we are looking at the performance of the construction of the garment; can it move the way it needs to? Can you bend down to approach a patient? Can you lift without being exposed? Have you noticed any wear and tear throughout your time trailing the uniform? It is through this feedback that we can make any final adjustments before we roll it out to the entire workforce. The uniform program was launched in January 2022 and is currently successfully rolling out to the SA Ambulance workforce

A note from SA Ambulance

"The team at Workwear Group Uniforms provide exceptional customer service and valued account management.

"Uniform garments are delivered in accordance with agreed timelines and very few are returned due to faults or non-compliance with specifications. Workwear Group Uniforms demonstrates good to excellent performance against listed KPIs (75-95%).

"SAAS are looking forward to continuing the partnership with WWG as the suite of upgraded operational uniforms are implemented with the commencement of a new contract."

Meredith Knowler
Uniform Program Manager

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