What An Employer Needs To Do
As an employer there are a number of options open to you when selecting a training provider. You should select the most appropriate for your requirements.
Depending on your choice you will need to undertake varying levels of due diligence (reasonable enquiry or investigation) into how a provider will deliver the training you require.
HSE cannot advise on the quality of individual training providers or the service they provide. Similarly HSE cannot advise on the standard of Quality Assurance systems that a training provider may have in place.
Criteria expected of first aid training providers
HSE has produced guidance on selecting a first aid training provider that sets out the criteria that a competent training provider should be able to demonstrate.
These criteria include:
- the qualifications expected of trainers and assessors;
- monitoring and quality assurance systems a training company has in place;
- teaching and standards of first-aid practice;
- syllabus content; and
- the information included on a certificate.
Options in Selection of a First Aid Training Provider
Training is available from a wide range of providers including:
- those who choose to offer regulated qualifications (first aid qualifications regulated by the qualification regulators - Ofqual, SQA and the Welsh Government),
- those who operate under voluntary approval schemes for example, a trade body having a quality assurance scheme accredited by a third party. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is recognised by government as the sole national accreditation body.
- those who operate independently of any such scheme for example, where a training provider chooses to demonstrate their competence to an employer by providing evidence that they meet the criteria set by HSE, or
- from one of the Voluntary Aid Societies (St John Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid).
Where additional or specialist training may be required due to the work activity, for example in the outdoor education industry, employers will be able to choose the most appropriate specialist provider to meet their identified training needs – and potentially avoid duplication in training.
All training providers will need to be able – and should be prepared to demonstrate how they satisfy the criteria set by HSE. Clarity in this area will be beneficial to both employers and first aid training providers. However, the Health and Safety at Work Act clearly places a duty on the employer to select a competent training provider.
Regulated qualifications are nationally recognised and can be obtained from a training centre for an ‘awarding organisation’ (AO).
These AOs are recognised by qualification regulators (Ofqual, SQA or the Welsh Government). Ofqual is the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. SQA (the Scottish Qualifications Authority) and the Welsh Government carry out similar functions in Scotland and Wales.
A number of AOs award qualifications specifically for the purposes of first aid at work.
These AOs have dedicated policies and quality assurance processes and must approve and monitor their training centres to ensure training meets a certain standard. Regulators stipulate that AOs and their training centres must work in compliance with the Assessment Principles for First Aid Qualifications (which can be found on the Skills for Health website) and other key criteria, including the competence of trainers and assessors and the content of quality assurance systems.
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