Choosing a First Aid Training Provider – What Do You Need to Know?

First Aid Kit

There are so many training providers currently offering first aid courses that it can be difficult to choose the appropriate one. 

When booking your staff on a first aid course, it’s important to make sure that not only the correct type of course is being taken, but also that the provider is properly certified to provide that particular course. 

In this article, we take a look at some of the things to look out for, to help make your search a little easier.

Which provider to choose?

Health and Safety England gives employers a lot of flexibility when choosing providers, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s good because there are a lot of options to choose from, but the downside is you need to do all the research and due diligence yourself.

First aid training can either be undergone externally, or course providers can be brought in for in-house training. The options include:

  • The Voluntary Aid Societies (VAS): British Red Cross, St John Ambulance and St Andrew’s First Aid. The VAS are considered by HSE to be the gold standard for first-aid providers.
  • In-house training providers
  • Providers who offer courses which are certified by an AO (awarding organisation).
  • Providers operating independently of accreditation schemes

While blended learning of hands-on and online is accepted, for obvious reasons the limitations of online learning mean that individuals can’t sit the whole course remotely. 

Checking your provider

Because providers aren’t checked by HSE, it’s down to you to complete your due diligence on your chosen first aid training provider. HSE have a guide for employers, including a checklist which covers the following (and much more):

  • Check that the provider has suitably qualified assessors and trainers
  • Check that they teach first aid practice which is currently accepted
  • Check that they issue first aid certificates which are compliant
  • Check that their training syllabus is suitable for your needs 
  • Check that they have effective quality assurance procedures in place

Which certificate to choose

There are multiple different first aid certificates to choose between, however there are two main ones which are relevant to the workplace. These are Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work.

Emergency First Aid at Work

This one day course gives you the skills to deal with an array of emergency first aid situations, and is best suited to people working in smaller work environments with a relatively low hazard risk. It covers the basics, including CPR, applying bandages and the recovering position. It briefly covers situations like cuts, broken bones, burns, bleeding and shock.

First Aid at Work

First Aid at Work is a three-day course, which covers everything in the Emergency First Aid at Work course and lots more. It’s designed for work environments which pose a higher hazard, and goes into a lot more depth. It covers situations like strokes, spinal injuries, heart attacks, and a variety of minor and major illnesses. 

Consulting with a provider may provide further insight into which course is appropriate for your specific workplace.