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Outdoor First Aid Course Accreditiation

A perspective on the accreditation of the Outdoor First Aid qualification.

It may be helpful to look at a historical perspective to help clear the waters. The outdoor industry’s governing bodies ask for a range of first aid qualifications from 4 hours in duration up to 16 hours, some examples are below. Certificates were traditionally issued from first aid training companies with a HSE registration number or companies with a third party agreement with these HSE approved companies, though this was not a requirement.

With the emergence of OfQual and north of the border the SQA in the regulation of first aid training, things changed only slightly. There is only 1 regulated outdoor first aid qualification this appears on the Scottish Qualifications Framework. All other outdoor qualifications follow a route of:-

  1. Companies issue certificates through an OfQual / SQA approved Awarding Organisation. Generally these are, in England and Wales equivalent to level 2 qualifications and in Scotland level 5.
  2. Training organisations issue certificates through established certificating bodies that are not OfQual/ SQA registered, of which there are a number.
  3. Companies issue certificates on their own merit as a training organisation.

Within the provision of first aid training, the emphasis is on the client to assure themselves that the training provider is credible and meets the required standards. This may be seen as one of the roles of Awarding Organisation as they conduct a due diligence check and approve training companies and the trainers within that company.

Normally qualifications have priority or approval ranking in the following order:

  1. OfQual or SQA Regulated courses.
  2. Un-regulated Qualifications awarded by OfQual/SQA recognized Awarding Bodies (i.e. AoFAQ)
  3. Any other qualification awarded by a training provider (i.e. everything else)

The following first aid requirements have been taken from the national Governing Bodies websites (23/10/2014)

  • BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) require just 12 hours and be delivered over 2 days
  • Mountain Training Association require a course of a minimum 16 hours
  • BCU (British Canoe Union) level 1 & 2 coaches a 1 day course (no specific hours found) ‘old’ level 3, 4, 5 and 4&5 star award holders a 2 day course (no specific hours found)
  • British Cycling Level 2 & 3 Hold a current two-day outdoor First Aid certificate issued by an HSE registered provider (this is out of date from October 2013 as the HSE no longer regulate or register training organisations)

There are currently 105 OfQual regulated first aid qualifications on the REGISTER OF REGULATED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • First Aid at Work
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Understanding the Additional Requirements for First Aid in Mines
  • First Aid for Sport
  • Activity First Aid

These qualifications are issued through a number of Awarding Organisations, currently approximately 26 in number.