Accreditation of first aid certificates and courses

Accreditation of first aid certificates and courses


Have working on the first aid training sector for 15 years it is apparent the confusion I experienced, as a new trainer about how first aid courses are accredited and certificated hasn’t gone away. How does the accreditation of first aid certificates and courses work?

The first aid training sector is unique as it is the only training course that the HSE has such a huge influence over. This complicates the accreditation of first aid certificates and courses.

Back when I started training, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulated the First Aid at Work course. The 1 day Emergency First Aid at Work course didn’t even exist. Since 2009 the first aid training sector has undergone dramatic changes designed to professionalise the sector and mean course certification is more transparent. The changes were to standardise courses across a training sector where there was a huge variation in the quality of training and assessment.

Without going into all the detail (and to cut a long story short) there are now four ways in which a first aid training provider can generate genuine first aid certificates. These four methods all meet the requirements of the HSE and a provider just needs to meet the criteria for one of these.

The first aid training provider needs to –

  1. Meet the HSE’s due diligence requirements for first aid providers
  2. Run ‘regulated’ first aid course – essentially be a Centre of an Awarding Organisation / Body
  3. Be a member of a first aid trade body
  4. Be one of the traditional voluntary sector organisation (Red Cross or St Johns)

As there are now four ways to accredit and certificate first aid courses. You need to make sure the provider you choose is meeting the requirements of one of the four methods above.

Note HSE now says you need to do a First Aid Needs Assessment (download one for free from our website) to know which type of first aid course is most appropriate for your workplace and that you need to do an appropriate first aid course for your job. No one is stuck with doing a First Aid at Work course anymore – choose an appropriate first aid course.

Find out more from the HSE.


About The Author

Cory Jones

Cory is a graduate of the prestigious WEMSI school (Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician), and a qualified teached with a masters degree in Environmental Management. He has lead expeditions worldwide (currently an International Mountain Leader) and is a director of Outdoor First Aid Limited. Cory Jones has worked in the outdoor industry for over 30 years. He first ran first aid training courses for the Red Cross in 2001. Cory has been a provider for SQA, ITC, REC, Highfield, Open College Network over the years. In 2008 Cory set up First Aid Academy in the Lancashire area and won the ‘New Business of the Year 2008 Award’. By 2010 he was running nearly 250 first aid training courses a year. Today, Cory is a director of Outdoor First Aid Limited as well as being a founder of the First Aid Training Co-operative.