In the last in this mini series, we’re taking a look at what happens next. By following our ‘Starting A First Aid Training Business’ series:
- You’ve got your qualifications, maybe done a bit of shadowing more experienced trainers in order to gain some first hand experience.
- You’ve gathered a basic set of training kit, and worked out how to fit it all into your car!
- You’ve ensured that your first aid training business is legal, and joined all of the relevant industry organisations.
- And you’ve got your business plan sorted and your marketing efforts have started to pay off – you’ve got your first course arranged!
Congratulations, all the preparation is done. It’s time to get out there and teach everyday people to do something extraordinary.
Stop. Reality Check.
It’s worth acknowledging early on that your first course will not be your finest work – even those who are experienced trainers in other fields will need time to learn the course content and structure in the context of delivering it to real life students and all the curve balls that they can throw you.
Therefore we often recommend to our new trainers to try and arrange a group who will ‘go easy on you’ for the first course. A group that you are comfortable in front of, and comfortable with letting them know that it’s your first course. This might be a former employer, or a club you are part of, and it’s often worth running this first course at a discounted rate so that it’s a mutually beneficial situation.
However, you will improve with experience and time…
Improve by 1% Every Day.
In 2010, it seemed impossible that a British cyclist would win the Tour de France in 2012.
Dave Brailsford, General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, had a theory. If you could improve every area related to cycling, from nutrition to the weight of the tires, by just 1 percent, those gains would build to incredible improvement.
Brailsford focused on general details at first, improving nutrition, training and the ergonomics of the bike. Then, he focused onto the areas others had missed – improving the sleep quality of the team, removing dust from the floor of the team truck and tweaking the bicycle seat.
If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.
As you begin your journey to become a First Aid Trainer, you need to keep identifying those small improvements by listening to feedback. You’ll find immediate areas of improvement by being humble and listening to your students.
As you gain experience, you need to work harder to continue to improve. Just a one percent improvement, each day, for one year, will make you a 37x better trainer.
Ask For, and Listen to, Feedback.
You are likely to rely heavily on your notes or lesson plan during your first few courses, so make notes in them as you go – maybe at each break time and then at the end of the day. Once you are finished and back home, go back over them and maybe re-write sections if required. This period of reflection, and acting on the feedback that you give yourself is what will develop your training skills and improve your courses – both for yourself and for your students.
Most importantly, be humble and ask for feedback. Don’t be scared of asking your students for informal feedback as well as the formal course evaluation that they undertake. Particularly if they are a group you know personally. Sometimes criticism can be hard to take, but if it is constructively given it can be very valuable.
An inspirational and effective trainer will leave their students with the knowledge and skills to make good decisions when it matters most. They will do this by having a thorough understanding of the course content, and be able to tweak or adapt their delivery to suit the group, situation, or context. At this level, being a trainer is extremely rewarding. You are pushing yourself and your own ability, as well as delivering a satisfying, valuable, and enriching experience for your students.
Improve with Trainer Development
At the First Aid Training Co-operative, we have an identified pathway for trainer development in order that trainers can work towards delivering courses in new sectors. One thing we insist on however is the requirement for a trainer be professionally competent in the sector that they are considering becoming a trainer in.
This means that they will credible in front of their students, and deliver a relevant course through their understanding of the students’ situation. It can be very tempting to want to deliver all sorts of courses, but the best trainers, and businesses, understand their niche, and make the most of it.
Don’t Forget Business Development
You are running a business – you are not just a trainer. You must grow; build your client base and work towards being viable. This can often take a few years, but with hard work and perseverance, first aid training can provide a rewarding and financially stable business to be proud of.
Like many sole trader type businesses however, it can be lonely working on your own, both doing the training and running the office, usually in the evenings. So ensuring that you stay in touch with other business owners in similar circumstances to you is invaluable. It can lead to collaborations that are beneficial when tendering for larger contracts, or just involve chewing the fat and discussing general business issues.
The First Aid Conference can be a great way of meeting and networking with many similar businesses, as well as providing a CPD opportunity too. Run by the First Aid Training Co-operative every 2 years, it has proved to be really valuable by those that have attended.
We hope that you have found this mini series helpful, and that it gives you some guidance into getting started in the First Aid Training industry.
Remember that the First Aid Training Co-operative will not only provide the training as part of our Trainer Induction Week, the background business support as part of a national training organisation, and business development support and ongoing CPD as part of a true Co-operative organisation who has the interests of its members and clients front and centre in everything we do.
Wishing you the very best of luck in your new business start up!