Selecting a First Aid Training Provider

Over a year ago the Health and Safety Executive published the GEIS3 guidance. This contained some interesting points to Employers on selecting a first aid training provider.

Selecting a wrong training provider could result in the training being invalid and the employer falling foul of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.
Employers have different routes to select a suitable training provider this can be categorised into two main groups.

Group 1: Regulated Qualifications or qualifications from the VAS. An employer selecting a training provider from this group can be confident that the training will fulfil the employer’s duty under the First Aid regulations.
Group 2: These are basically any other training providers. Here, the employer must carry out a c omprehensive assessment of the training provider concerning quality assurance, trainer experience, qualification course structure and a checklist of several pages of due diligence before using the training provider. Get this wrong and the qualification may not be HSE compliant, resulting in the employer failing to meet their statutory duties under the first aid regulations.

So what is Group 1? This first group consists of either the VAS or a Training Provider approved by an Ofqual recognised Awarding Organisation (AO). AoFA Qualifications is one such Awarding Organisation of over 20 AOs in this sector. AOs are regulated by the government department Ofqual who in turn regulate the training providers. More importantly from the employer’s viewpoint, by selecting a first aid training provider approved by an AO ensures that the qualifications are regulated and meets the first aid regulations. Further, the employer does not need to carry out any due diligence before engaging the training provider.

So, why aren’t all training providers regulated by AOs? As part of a government initiative of removing health and safety red tape, the first aid training market moved from being regulated by the HSE to an open market. This move gives more choice to the employer but with the choice comes more responsibility to select a suitable first aid training provider.
Are there any drawbacks with Regulated Qualifications? Regulated qualifications tend to be more expensive then Group 2, but from an Employers viewpoint, there is no due diligence to carry out. This ensures that the training provided is of high quality and equally importantantly meet the duties under the first aid regulations. This seems to be a small price to pay for employer’s peace of mind!

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