Frequently asked questions

Outdoor instructors and youth group leaders

I've heard REC (Rescue Emergency Care) courses are good. Do you offer those?

Yes, we do! REC courses are great because they're very 'hands-on' and practical, with an emphasis on being outside while practising newly learned skills. In fact, we probably spend more time outdoors than many providers do on their courses. In addition, we can usually offer the add-on options of an RYA first aid certificate (particularly useful if you're an RYA instructor), a regulated emergency first aid at work certificate and/or a regulated forestry first aid +F certificate for a nominal additional cost. You can select these options when you book. Please do be aware that REC do not provide regulated first aid courses. This means that if you need a first aid certificate for work, your employer should conduct all the due diligence checks required by law to make sure the course meets your needs assessment. REC's own level system is not linked to the Regulated Qualifications Framework.

I'm an RYA Instructor. What first aid qualification do I need?

The RYA updated its training guidance in December 2017. It clearly states that the default requirement for RYA instructors is the RYA First Aid course. We offer this one-day course. It also provides a list of minimum requirements if instructors choose to use alternative qualifications. There are four aspects of this list which are rarely found in standard first aid courses - the CPR protocol for drowning (which the Resuscitation Council UK recommend only be taught to those who have a specific duty of care to potential drowning victims), the modification of the recovery position for small spaces, immersion hypothermia and seasickness. The short duration of the RYA First Aid course does, however, impose some practical limitations on the amount of time that can be spent on the wide variety of topics that are expected to be covered in a single day. It may be possible (dependent on trainer availability) to add this content to a REC 16-hour outdoor first aid course and provide dual certification for a nominal fee. Please contact us well in advance to discuss whether this is possible.

I'm an RYA First Aid Instructor. Have you got something more advanced for me?

The Royal Yachting Association require RYA First Aid Instructors to hold 'an advanced first aid certificate' but do not specify what this might be beyond the minimum requirement of First Aid at Work. We know from experience that the questions people ask on first aid courses could be difficult to answer if we didn't have higher level qualifications and first-hand experience to draw on. Why not look at our prehospital care qualifications, the QA First Response Emergency Care suite? Or come on one of our first aid courses, and ask us some of the hard questions! All of our RYA instructors have search and rescue experience and have had to put their skills to work in challenging circumstances.

I'm a British Canoeing Coach / Leader. What first aid qualification do I need?

British Canoeing's first aid policy links the length of first aid training course required to the coaching or leadership qualification you hold. It states: "British Canoeing recommends that Coaches and Leaders first consider specialist outdoor first aid training delivered by organisations who choose to offer first aid qualifications regulated by Ofqual." A three-day QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (RQF) qualification will cover most of the skills you need, but you might like to consider the REC outdoor first aid course, which includes additional information relevant to the outdoors. REC qualifications are, however, not regulated by Ofqual. The QA Level 2 Award in Activity First Aid is a regulated qualification.

I hold a Mountain Training qualification. What first aid qualification do I need?

Mountain training publish their first aid FAQs here. Climbing wall instructors need an eight-hour course. The minimum for other award holders is a 16-hour course. Please be aware that our courses don't provide an extensive introduction to remote emergency management, but the REC 16-hour outdoor first aid course does look at a range of problems and issues that may occur outdoors.

What are the first aid qualification requirements of the British Caving Association?

The CIC handbook 2012*, section 2.3.14, indicates that an appropriate sixteen-hour course is required by Cave Instructor Certificate candidates. While the three-day QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (RQF) course and the two-day REC outdoor first aid course will teach relevant, transferable skills, neither are aimed at providing an introduction to remote emergency care associated with caving. *password for the handbook, publically available on their website, is "edition2".

I hold a Mountain Bike Leader Award. What first aid qualification do I need?

British Cycling, on their website, publish the following advice: "For any MBLA award to be valid, the awardee must hold a current and valid first aid certificate or provide evidence of training to the required standard." They advise a twelve-hour course. The REC outdoor first aid course appears to meet these requirements. Given the possibility of handlebar injuries such as these (warning - gory), you might like to ensure that your course covers the treatment of catestrophic bleeding. This topic can be covered on a REC outdoor course as well as on the QA Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work and the QA Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work.

I'm a Scout leader. Do your courses cover the module 10 / emergency response syllabus?

There are a few 'curve balls' in the Scouts' emergency response syllabus, which mean a standard first aid course might not cover aspects like the protocols for child CPR and meningitis. We can provide a Module 10 / emergency response course for you. However, our modular outdoor first aid course, based on a REC 16-hour outdoor first aid certificate with the option of completing an RYA First Aid Certificate, a regulated Emergency First Aid at Work certificate and/or a regulated Forestry First Aid certificate is likely to be your best choice for a really comprehensive course. Either way, as we're involved in Scouting ourselves, you can be assured of excellent training at the best prices. Ask us about the discounts or bespoke courses available for bona fide volunteers. The current guidance from Scouts about first response can be found here.

Regulated qualifications

What are the benefits of regulated first aid qualifications?

Simply put, they save employers the time and effort of performing legally-required 'due diligence' checks on first aid training providers. The Health and Safety Executive stopped approving first aid training providers and courses on 1 October 2013, but they still publish guidance on the law (L74) and how to select a training provider (GEIS3). The guidance makes it clear that, to comply with the legal duties under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, an employer must make an appropriate and adequate choice which is based on a needs assessment and appropriate due diligence. Paragraph 12 of GEIS3 states: "Due to awarding organisations offering 'regulated qualifications', you do not have to use the [due diligence] checklist to satisfy yourself of the competency of that organisation."

Who is your awarding organisation and who are they regulated by?

Most of our qualifications are provided by Qualsafe Awards, who are regulated by Ofqual.

What does RQF mean, and what is it?

RQF stands for the Regulated Qualifications Framework. It is a single, simple system for cataloguing qualifications according to their 'level' and 'size' in England and Northern Ireland. Ofqual's blog has provided a more detailed explanation. The RQF has entry levels 1, 2, 3 plus levels 1 to 8. A rough comparison of levels 1 to 8 to existing qualifications in England would be: 1 – GCSEs (grades 3-1, previously D-G)
2 – GCSEs (grades 9-4, previously A*-C)
3 – Advanced level (AS/A-level)
4 – Vocational Qualification level 4, HNC
5 – Vocational Qualification level 5, HND, Foundation Degree
6 – Bachelor’s Degree
7 – Master’s Degree, Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma
8 – Doctorate If you're a stickler for detail, the qualification and component level descriptors used by awarding organistions can be found here. The system in Wales (the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales - CQFW) is a little different, but uses the same levels as shown above. The system in Scotland (the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) is completely different. Its scale has twelve levels. Broadly speaking, SCQF Level 5 is equivalent to RQF Level 2. SCQF Level 6 is equivalent to RQF Level 3.

Booking and cancellation

What are your booking and cancellation terms and conditions?

Our terms and conditions document gives full details, and you must agree that you have read these when you submit a booking request. From this document, you will see that our normal terms include a cancellation clause that allows you to cancel your booking and receive a refund up to 29 working days prior to the start of your course. If you give between 15 and 28 days notice, you will only receive a 50% refund. If you provide 14 days notice or less, no refund will be payable. Other terms and conditions may apply to bespoke training. Any variation in terms and conditions must be agreed in writing by a Director.

Special arrangements

I have difficulty with my reading and writing. Can I still be assessed?

Yes, of course. Many of our courses have multiple choice question papers. The trainer can read the question to you and note your answer. Some qualifications, such as those for education and training, require a particular level of English as a prerequisite. If you have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, or experience similar issues, this does not have to be a barrier to success. Contact us to discuss the support you need. The team includes experienced special education professionals. We will do everything we can to support you, but we need to know about the difficulties you experience so that we can give you the right advice. Please talk to us, before your course, about how we can help.