6 July, 2020: St John Ambulance is today running face-to-face workplace first aid training for the first time since lockdown, with measures in place to ensure the safety of trainers and delegates.

The health charity will train people in 25 locations* around the country this month in an attempt to help organisations tackle the backlog of what St John estimates to be 60,000 first aiders with lapsed qualifications required.**

Further venues will open gradually in the coming months, with 110 expected to be in operation by October, after the charity reports seeing higher-than-expected demand.

Course delegates will be taught changes to first aid advice as a result of the pandemic and will need to follow strict protocols including social distancing to prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19. ***

Director of Training and Enterprise at St John Ambulance, Mel Fox, said: “Many workplace first aiders have been left without an opportunity to get the required requalification, so we’re doing everything we can to facilitate bringing them up to standard as soon as possible. We’re responding dynamically to demand, which we’re pleased to say has come in sooner than we thought.

“As well as fulfilling regulatory requirements, having qualified first aiders on hand is an important part of giving people confidence to return to the workplace.”

Some of the face-to-face training this week will form part of a new “blended” training package which includes 50% online training.

E-learning has grown in popularity during the furlough period, when St John saw registrations for its online learning centre multiply by 20 in six weeks.

Mr Fox added: “It’s still necessary for people to have face-to-face training so they can practise their skills but we’ve found customers are now much more willing to combine this training with online learning. We’ll  continue to respond to customers’ needs with agility and expertise.”

For more information visit https://www.sja.org.uk/courses/ 

*Venues operating from July 6:

Bedminster, Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Coventry, Croydon, Derby, Exeter, Guildford, Kidlington, Leeds, Liverpool, London Bridge, Maidstone, Marylebone, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Poole, Reading, Sheffield, Staverton, Stevenage, Stockport

**Regulatory Requirement for Workplace First Aid

The regulatory requirements are that workplace first aiders have their skills refreshed every three years. However, due to Covid-19, the Health and Safety Executive has granted an extension:

HSE info here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/first-aid-certificate-coronavirus.htm

Requalification training in England
The first aid training industry in England is confident that enough courses will now be available for all required requalification training to take place. HSE has therefore agreed a final deadline for requalification for these qualifications of 30 September 2020.

St John has estimated that 61,000 first aiders will have been due to requalify between April and September 30th. Without the requalification, many first aiders will not have had their skills refreshed or assessed in over three years.

***Covid-19 infection prevention and control at face-to-face training

We are implementing the following measures on training courses:

  • If a delegate has any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. new persistent cough, high temperature, loss or change to sense of smell or taste) they must not attend training. We will provide a free transfer to a future course
  • We will implement social distancing measures between everyone at all times during the course and request the same of delegates during breaks. To do this we have reduced class sizes dependent on the size of the room
  • There will be hand sanitisation available and regular hand-washing protocols in place 
  •  We will operate a 1:1 delegate to manikin ratio for CPR practice and will maintain our rigorous manikin cleaning protocols
  • We have altered our training strategies to ensure that trainers and delegates don’t touch and remain socially distanced during practical sessions
  •  We will continue to provide gloves for relevant practical sessions
  •  Face-coverings will not be provided but delegates are welcome to wear their own should they wish