There are now glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel, so I hope that this is enabling you to feel a bit more positive about the future. We are hoping soon to be able to rebuild and get First Aid Training courses up and running for you again, and as there has started to be a steady trickle of enquiries, I thought it best to update you on where things currently are at. Of course, like you we are hoping that the Covid-19 situation continues to improve and that there is not a second wave of infection spike.

The First Aid industry unfortunately does not have a single overarching body to provide guidance in these situations, with updates and guidance coming from a number of different organisations including the UK Government, The HSE, Ofqual, the Resuscitation Council UK, the First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum and our Awarding Organisation TQUK to name but a few! Having reviewed what information  is currently available, at present we will not be able to deliver training courses until the UK Government announces we are at Alert Level 3. However, with what guidance we have had to date, once training is permitted to restart, courses will be very different from what you might have previously experienced in order to minimize the spread of the virus.

It will be necessary for some time (at least until there is a proven effective vaccine which has been rolled out, or the virus eventually dies out) to put in a number of measures to minimize the spread of the virus. This includes:

  • Our open course programme for the academic year 2020-2021 has been rescheduled to reduce the number of different people entering our training facility each week for example, the 3-day First Aid at Work course is often run over 3 days on 3 consecutive weeks - it will now be run on 3 consecutive days during one week
  • Candidates will undertake a screening questionnaire on arrival for any face-to-face training. If there is any risk that they might be carrying Covid-19 (for example someone in their household has a high temperature) they will not be able to attend the course and will be transferred to a future course date
  • Smaller course sizes, with many courses running at a maximum of 6 candidates for face-to-face training - this is to facilitate social distancing
  • Training and assessment strategies are being adapted to enable social distancing to take place at all time for both candidates and staff
  • Rigorous hand washing protocols will be encouraged with alcohol hand gel also available
  • Although the HSE and Consultant Microbiologist at NHS England have approved the measures that we already undertake as sufficient to prevent infection, we are going one stage further and all candidates will have their own individual sterilised manikin for the duration of their course. This we believe will give candidates greater peace of mind
  • Face coverings will not be provided; however, candidates are welcome to wear their own if they wish
  • We are looking into the use of on-line blended learning options for additional course modules such as for the extra topics contained in the First Aid for Dance syllabus and as a means of providing annual refresher training
  • Alongside face-to-face training we will be delivering parts of some courses as a Live-Online Module with one of our experienced tutors. This will only be for theoretical and discussion parts of courses and not for any topics which require practical assessment. For example, the Paediatric First Aid course is able to be 50% 'blended learning' according to Ofqual regulations, which means that we will be able to reduce face-to-face time for candidates  to just one day in a training room environment rather than 2 days and this will help to further minimize the spread of the virus
  • For accredited courses where there is a paper-based assessment involved we are working hard to get this converted to an electronic format so that candidates are not passing paperwork back and forth between themselves and our training team. This will be able to be completed at the candidates own pace with extra time for reflection aiding learning for some, and with a deadline for completion set together with candidates/trainer and support available via online Zoom type calls where needed.
  • Whether a course is delivered completely face-to-face or through a 'blended' type format will not change the qualification that is achieved.

I hope that this update is both useful and reassuring, we've a little way to do but are getting closer every day to being able to work delivering training for you our clients. Ultimately, we will restart training course delivery when we are confident that it is safe for our staff team, our clients and their families.  Thank you for bearing with us at this time - we look forward to working with you again hopefully in the not so distant future. 

Helen Underwood

12 June 2020

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