A First Aid trainer educates and assesses adults and young people in the ability to execute emergency aid.
A First Aid trainer runs courses to teach people how to respond initially when faced with a situation where a person is injured. First Aid trainers are required to teach the basic skills of reaction, response, call for help and attention to minor injuries. They may also be required to assess their course attendees for certification in First Aid training, usually 'First Aid at Work'.
First Aid trainers will work in a demonstrative environment with moderately-sized groups of people, meaning trainers need to be confident and have the ability to speak clearly and get their point across effectively. Being a First Aid trainer requires the ability to create a positive and relaxed environment with the group and sufficient knowledge to answer questions and act out hypothetical situations.
First Aid trainers may have to travel around the country to deliver their courses and will not always work usual office hours as courses often have to be delivered to fit around daily work schedules or trainees. This means being flexible and prepared to work anti-social hours.
First Aid trainer salaries can vary according to location around the country. The highest earning First Aid trainers are located in London and can start on a basic wage of around £15,00 per annum, as opposed to First Aid trainers in the north whose starting salary is between £12,000 and £13,000 a year.
Experienced First Aid trainers employed by expert organisations such as Saint John’s Ambulance can earn up to £25,000 a year. Private First Aid trainers who are self-employed earn a similar wage and can charge extra for flexible and anti-social hours. Private First Aid trainers often charge per person, meaning monthly wages can fluctuate depending on the number of courses run or attendees signing up.
First Aid trainers are responsible for ensuring that their group are certified to deal with emergency situations. This mean that they can be liable in cases where misinformation is delivered, therefore, their responsibility to ensure accuracy in their job and group understanding is vital. Responsibilities and tasks include:
- Providing their trainees with accurate information regarding emergency aid
- Demonstrating how first aid should be carried out
- Ensuring the entire group fully understands explanations
- Delivering presentations in an eloquent yet simple manner for students of all abilities to understand
- Demonstrating how to use equipment
- Cleaning and maintaining equipment and resources
- Managing records of course attendees
- Assessing First Aid capabilities of the group and awarding qualifications to those who have met the criteria and standards
- Organising courses and arranging times and locations with attendees booking on courses
- Sending out information regarding courses and marketing future courses
Necessary qualifications for a First Aid trainer include a current and in-date ‘First Aid at Work’ certificate and a formal teaching and assessing qualification for first aid, such as a Level 3 PTLLS or CIEH award. Formal teaching awards such as these compromise of courses that run for 5 days including written and practical testing.
Being a First Aid trainer requires excellent interpersonal skills so as to create a comfortable environment where people can learn easily and feel relaxed enough to ask questions. First Aid trainers need to:
- Be confident in speaking to groups of people and demonstrating practices in front of them
- Speak fluent English and be able to speak simply and eloquently
- Be able to teach in a kinaesthetic manner
- Be hands-on
- Be friendly, approachable and patient with questions
- Have the ability to work flexible hours
- Have a keen eye for detail when it comes to assessment
- Possess basic computer skills for keeping up-to-date records
- Have a jargon-free writing style when producing learning resources for the group
- Have an in-depth understanding of customer care and health and safety procedures
First Aid trainers will work in a variety of environments, usually indoors. These can include sports halls, school classrooms and community centres. Work environments will usually be a hired venue for holding the course. Sessions will be held with groups of around 15 people meaning that First Aid trainers need to be confident in public speaking and demonstration.
The potential for physical injury in First Aid training is low as any risky practices will use a simulation dummy. Physical demands are also low in this role – there is minimal lifting and carrying of demonstration dolls but they are not particularly heavy.
First Aid trainers are often required to travel to the location of the group they will be training and assessing. This can mean long journeys and possible overnight stays. With this in mind, First Aid trainers need to possess their own vehicle or means of travel as transportation of equipment to courses will be a necessity. Hours are usually office hours as courses are normally run from 9am to around 4pm, but working days are irregular. Some First Aid trainers may be required to work evenings and weekends.
First Aid trainers may be required to wear a uniform, usually a t-shirt with appropriate logo provided by the employer, but besides this, loose fitting clothes that are easy to move in are most suitable.
No particular experience is needed to be a First Aid trainer besides the necessary first aid qualifications. Personal anecdotes are useful when teaching and previous experience in clubs such as the Scout Association or military cadets is helpful but not essential.
- Self- employed First Aid trainers may be contracted by private businesses and other organisations
- St John’s Ambulance
- Local councils
- Hospitals and paramedic departments
- Private or alternative educational establishments
There is limited career progression for First Aid trainers. Many trainers move on to starting their own businesses and becoming self-employed. Within companies, it is hard to move up without moving into purely administrative roles.
Some First Aid trainers become paramedics themselves or move sideways into teaching First Aid alongside causes they believe in. First Aid trainers are needed worldwide, so the role gives great opportunity for travel.
Andy Forsyth has been a First Aid Trainer for 16 years. Here is what he has to say about training people in First Aid:
What made you become a First Aid trainer?
In the job I was doing before, I decided that I wanted to be able to offer training in another life skill to the students and to complement a training programme we were already offering. What did you do before you started training First Aid?
I ran outdoor education programmes in a college of Further Education.
What's a typical day like for a First Aid trainer? The days can be quite long. I would arrive at the venue and meet the clients. I set up for the day’s course and then deliver a set programme of First Aid training. It’s theoretical and practical and then I finish off by assessing. There’s little time to yourself during the day so once the course is finished there is always paperwork to do, equipment to clean etc. What do you like about training adults in First Aid? I love the fact that I’m always meeting new people. It’s also fun because I have the flexibility to make the course interesting, memorable and challenging. Teaching people life skills and giving them confidence to be able to deal with a potentially stressful situation that they may have to encounter is pretty rewarding. You feel like you’re making a difference. Every now and again I receive feedback and stories from people who have put their training into practice, and it’s great to know you’ve been the one to help.
What do you dislike about it or find particularly challenging?
Generally each day’s training is different in its own way; however, the delivery can sometimes feel repetitive. There are often times when individuals do not want to be on the course and have been forced by employers. It’s a challenge to engage them in learning.
What skills do you gain from training people in First Aid that you could take to another job?
First Aid training teaches the art of presentation skills as well as teaching skills. In order to teach adults accredited courses trainers must have a basic teaching qualification such as PTLLS. A key part of delivering first aid training is having the skills to assess correctly. These are transferable to other positions where you may need to assess.
What is the career progression like? Where could a First Aid trainer go?
Many First Aid trainers are sole trainers or work for large organisations. Often they have other income streams. First Aid training links in with health and safety and other associated courses such as safe manual handling etc. Becoming a health and safety officer would be a natural progression.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a First Aid trainer?
There are a lot of changes happening in the First Aid world at the moment. The HSE, which oversees the running of First Aid courses are withdrawing their role as a regulatory body. First Aid courses will therefore become accredited courses and so will have to be run through an awarding body. They will therefore be regulated by Ofqual. If you are thinking of becoming a First Aid trainer, find a First Aid training organisation that is also an awarding body. Finally you have to be a people person to enjoy running First Aid courses.