How do I choose a training provider?

Since 2013, HSE no longer approves First Aid training and qualifications or training providers.  This means that businesses have more flexibility in how they manage the provision of first aid in their workplace.  This also means that as an employer, you are legally responsible for selecting a training provider that is competent to deliver that training.

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 carry out 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.

All training providers should be prepared to demonstrate they:

  • are competent to deliver first aid training
  • have qualified trainers with formal teaching/assessing qualifications
  • teach in accordance with the current guidelines and course manuals (as agreed and standardised by Resus Council & FAAOF)
  • have the necessary quality assurance systems in place
  • certificate their qualifications with all the required information

Although it is possible for the content of alternative qualifications to be mapped across to the regulated EFAW or FAW syllabus’, unless the training provider is registered with one of the members of the FAAOF, it is difficult to tell whether any training has been delivered to the required quality standard.

The easiest way to satisfy yourself of a training provider’s competence is to choose an accredited provider who offers regulated qualifications from an appropriate Awarding Organisation.  Awarding Organisations regulated by Ofqual, SQA or FAIB have strict quality assurance processes in place and all centres are subject to annual external verification checks.

The First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum sets and monitors the standard for First Aid training in the UK.  A list of Awarding Organisations who have signed up to agree to implement these standards can be found here.  To guarantee the appropriate level of training, make sure the training provider you choose offers accredited certificates from one of these Awarding Organisations.

Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd is registered with Qualsafe Awards to provide Ofqual regulated qualifications.  We also have our own internal quality assurance processes in place and our director is an external verifier of first aid qualifications.

How do I organise training for my staff?

Your training provider can help you to do this.  Employees are required to revalidate their qualification within 1 month of their current certificate expiry.  It’s a good idea to establish a rolling programme of training so that all first aider certificates do not expire at the same time – this ensures you will always have appropriate cover and will fulfil your legal requirements.

You may find it useful to keep a record of employee training so you monitor when certificates expire – your training provider should also send you reminders.  Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd will work with you to ensure that your provision is always adequate for your needs and will remind you before certification is due to expire in order to make sure you remain compliant.

If you have staff working from home because of coronavirus, you should check that you still have enough cover for the number of people in the building.  It may be necessary for you share first aid provision with another local business or department, however, any ‘borrowed’ first aiders must be familiar with your circumstances and available at all times your staff are on the premises.

See our latest blog post on HSE extension to first aid certification.

Choosing a First Aider

Employers should also ensure they are complying with regulation 13 of the Health and Safety Management Regulations 1999, which has a requirement to ensure adequate time is set aside during the working day to undertake any first-aid training employees receive.  First aid is physically challenging; it is important that anyone undertaking first aid responsibilities in their workplace is fit and able to carry out the role in an emergency.  HSE also makes reference to provision for Mental Wellbeing in the workplace.  When choosing a person to be a ‘listening ear’ or Mental Health First Aider, it is recommended that employers consider providing a general first aider to reduce any possible stigma associated with employees seeking help from a certain person.


For an employee to demonstrate that they have competence in first aid for the workplace, they must hold a certificate which contains the following information:

  • name of the training organisation
  • name of the awarding body
  • name of the qualification achieved e.g SCQF Level 6 First Aid at Work
  • name of the learner
  • a validity period e.g 3 years from the date of the course or expiry date
  • a statement that teaching was delivered in accordance with current practice and that the certificate has been issued for the purposes of complying with the Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

Who monitors us?  How does Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd satisfy your ‘due diligence’.

  • Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd is a Qualsafe Awards Ltd Centre, delivering Ofqual regulated First Aid qualifications. Our QA Centre No. is 906328.  Our instructors are also registered with Nuco Training to deliver SQA accredited courses.
  • All qualifications delivered are nationally recognised, fully accredited and regulated by either Ofqual or SQA. The syllabus for these qualifications follows the guidance set out by HSE and the First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum.  Each certificate is embossed with the Ofqual or SQA logo and confirms HSE compliance with the following statement: ‘(Name) has successfully completed training and assessment in accordance with currently accepted first aid practice for the purposes of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1982, in the following subject’.
  • Certificates also bear the following information which is a HSE requirement:  Learner name; Qualification details; Date of achievement; Revalidation date; Certificate number and Qualification number.
  • Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd holds Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employer’s Liability insurance.
  • Since 2013, formal teaching and assessing qualifications are required to teach and assess First Aid Qualifications. Our trainers hold full registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and B ED / Post Graduate degrees in Education.
  • First aid trainers, assessors and internal verifiers are also required to hold a current, valid First Aid at Work certificate to teach First Aid at Work and Paediatric Qualifications. This is a requirement of the ‘Assessment Principles for Regulated First Aid Qualifications’ and ensures they have the minimum level of occupational knowledge.  Our lead trainer also worked as a First Responder for Scottish Ambulance Service and completed IHCD training in this role.  All trainers hold current, valid FAW certification.
  • Our director is an External Verifier for the Scottish Qualifications Authority with responsibility for qualifications verification and approving centres to deliver FAW and Paediatric Qualifications, with the ability to impose sanctions for non-compliance if necessary. A full understanding of the most current and up to date standards for regulated First Aid Qualifications is needed to fulfil this role.
  • All First Aid Trainer/Assessors are required to maintain a training log of experience with a minimum of 36 hours delivery over 3 years. We are also required to keep a record of ongoing CPD training.  This is also applicable internal and external quality assurers (IQA/EQA).
  • We have internal verification processes for quality assurance which is a requirement for every centre delivering regulated first aid qualifications. This is monitored annually by the awarding body through external verification activity which includes ‘live’ trainer observation, interview and moderation of course paperwork.  External Quality Assurance forms part of the review on trainer/assessor competence along with validation of formal teaching/assessing qualification and occupational knowledge. This could trigger potential actions / sanctions should anything not be to standard.  We also carry out our own Annual trainer observations are carried out by our internal verifier – these are again monitored by the Awarding Body.  We are required to have annual desktop reviews and course paperwork is subject to 20% sampling.  Quality assurance activity is outlined in the ‘Assessment Principles for Regulated First Aid Qualifications’.
  • Regular standardisation activity is undertaken to ensure knowledge is kept up to date and that qualification criteria and instruments of assessment are still valid. Standardisation meetings are also an opportunity to discuss learner feedback, and moderate internal verification activity.
  • All Internal and External Quality Assurance activity for Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd is up to date. Our next review is due March 2021.
  • Safe Hands First Aid Training Ltd holds ISO:9001 accreditation and is subject to annual audit in April 2021 order to maintain this status.

Every trainer who works for Safe Hands First Aid Training knows and fully understands the responsibility that they have.  We as a company have to ensure that Learners who leave our courses fully understand the importance of the role of First Aider within the workplace and also have the skills and techniques required to save a life and treat illness / injury.  Minimum standards are required for Learners to pass each course. When a Learner achieves only the minimum, Trainers are required to make a professional judgement as to whether that Learner has achieved all the assessment criteria.  They will do this using all assessment evidence available, including formative and practical assessments.  For more information, please see our Policy on Teaching & Learning.