PTS First Aid

I’m confused. Looking at the PTS Poster it says that activity first aid takes 18 hours and is equivalent to first aid at work. First aid at work takes 3 days but according to SJA website the activity youth aid is 2 days. For that to be 18 hours it would be 9-6 without breaks. Surely those two are not equivalent?

Also, ACTO 8 says that you must normally do the BHF or SJA course to wear the badge but Wing FAO can approve it for another course. Does anyone have experience of getting these badges approved when people have alternative qualifications (like a full 3 day first aid at work)? Just seems odd you get a badge for heartstart but nothing for a high level course because you used a different provider.

AFA is “equivalent” to FAW in so far that it is an adult first aid qualification that is suitable to be used to support ranges, enable AT qualifications and so on.

Regarding badging, Blue FA is for Heartstart. The Bronze and Silver badges are our new versions of SJA badges (previously red and green) so can only be awarded for SJA courses - dumb and short-sighted, but there you have it. I assume gold will be the same if they can ever agree on what is needed to earn it!

Thanks for that.

I am still confused though by the poster saying AFA takes 18 hours but SJA saying 2 days. Is that an HQAC error or are SJA existing you to do 9 hours training a day?
I thought as much with the badges but it just seems so silly when we want to encourage first aid not to recognise other courses. I’d have thought you should have a list of courses that would get you each level of badge and have a RAFAC specific badge. But what do I know?

I am not sure I would agree they are equivalent - FAAW does take three days to run, and AFA can be run over a weekend, which is one of the reasons it was selected as the preferred FA qual for staff…

They are both courses of a minimum of 16 hours plus assessment, so they meet the NGB criteria for a suitable first aid qualification.

AFA is not an equivalent to FAAW in any way.
Very few employers accept AFA for first aiders in the workplace, by do take EFAW.

Just accept AFA is a poor relation.

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I recently did AFA as it’s required for my NGB qual. On receiving my St John’s certificate it clearly states it is not a valid HSE course.
I already have EFAW (one day) from outside the Corps. The main points covered on EFAW that weren’t on AFA were squarely focused on the workplace eg legal requirements for FA cover and for incident reporting.
Of the two AFA is the better course and YFA makes sense for Cadets. It’s a pity we can’t also gain the EFAW but maybe that is down to SJA not us?

I don’t really care about AFA as I’m FAAW through work.
But it is interesting that if it’s not a valid HSE course, how come people can instruct and assess first aid courses? Is that another HQAC fiddle to get what they want.

FAAW is the HSE’s standard course for a workplace first aider. AFA is not as it doesn’t cover some of the workplace stuff but that does not invalidate it or make it useless as a first aid course, it simply means that it is insufficient for use by a designated workplace* first aider according to the HSE.

AFA, a St John Ambulance course, is a detailed course that covers many aspects of first aid and is considered by St John Ambulance, who essentially underpin most of the FA delivery in the Corps, suitable for people to deliver YFA, a St John Ambulance course.

To deliver an “adult” course such as AFA you need to be a SJA-approved trainer. This is not required to deliver YFA as it is considered to be a lesser course and won’t be accepted to support AT qualifications or to provide official FA cover at a thing.

*The ATC not being considered a workplace in this context.

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Not wishing to be pedantic but AFA isn’t solely a SJA course as there are several awarding organisations that offer it.

Ive never been a fan of SJA and I’ve often got the impression that they consider themselves to be the only organisation that can deliver FA ‘properly’ and they tend to ‘look down’ on others who do just as good a - if not a better - job than they do.

IMHO opinion, SJA have relaxed the rules surrounding delivery by non-qualified instructors simply to make money out of the Corps. To deliver even a 1-day EFAW, awarding organisations (and SJA themselves) insist upon a Level 3 Award in Education & Training as a minimum. To let those who only hold a FAAW ticket teach and assess a 16hr course (YFA or whatever it’s called this week) makes a mockery of the entire qualification system.


No, some funny handshake stuff went on giving SJA a monopoly in the cadet forces (initially with the ACF IIRC), so SJA make concessions on what they would expect elsewhere, to ensure their monopoly can continue and no doubt a wodge of wonga.

I can’t teach first aid at work, yet in the ATC I can, just on the basis of having a FAAW.
Staff in the Corps do AFA and aren’t recognised as first aiders at work and if you’re not recognised you are not insured, but those with an EFAW are recognised at first aiders, but can teach and assess first aid courses.

A few years ago I met a CI who instructed the full range of first aid courses for a living and was assessed on his instruction and assessments, but because he was only registered with the HSE, the Corps wouldn’t let him do it in the Corps. He quickly became an ex-member of staff. I met him recently and have asked him to come to the squadron just to instruct cadets, so we can just spin them through first aid they need and when they go on a long course it’s just to refresh. Better to have some who knows what they’re about than us well meaning amateurs.

Whatever interbreeding occurred between SJA and ACF in the past is a mystery to me, but we bought into that established relationship because they were going a fairly good job and we had dropped FA as a subject because we were not following particularly good practice at that time.

We now seem to be locked into it and TPTB seem unwilling to change that due in part to the cost of bringing it completely in-house and having to re-invent a lot of the resources.

You probably could teach FA at work but it would be of little use to them as it would be a “youth” course that would count for nothing in the way of cover for your workplace.

I’m the first to claim that the SJA relationship is far from ideal and that we really shoudl be more flexible in what constitutes a valid FA qual for a cadet badge. We are already flexible when dealing with our adult first aid requirements within this organisation:

Do you have a particular complaint about first aid delivery, or is this just your latest whinge?

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It is the discrepancies that exist and being tied to SJA and the in-house nature of the training. All of my FAAW have been external with a variety of bodies. The company don’t use SJA anymore as they aren’t competitive in the market. The last SJA course I did was in 2008.

I have staff who find it odd that they have a valid FA qualification and can’t use it in work and if they put on job application and make a point of mentioning it, they are told it is effectively useless, which for those who don’t have NGB qualifications seem to feel it’s been a wasted weekend, except to tick a box for the ATC. We should be doing something with our time that has unbridled acceptance in the workplace. If I changed job my FAAW would be accepted as a first aid qualification.

in my mind staff should be doing FAAW

if something goes wrong and there is an investigation,
something I think they would look at is the qualifications and AFA isn’t as
well recognised as FAAW so why not get out in front of the issue.
qualify all to FAAW as we used to until they came up with this halfway house…

The problem with FAAW is that is isn’t ideal for many of the things we do unless we bolt on more training. It is based predominantly on office-based environments where you can get your casualty to medical help pretty easily. We need to add on more skills into that package to be more relevant to outdoor activities.

This is what we tend to do with Activity First Aid and that is what is relevant for our people in our wider environment. Why would we be going out of our way to run longer courses (that don’t fit into a weekend) that are less relevant to our organisation just to help you get something your workplace can use? I have no real objection in principle, but on balance AFA is a better fit than FAW for CFAVs.

If you aren’t needing a FA qual to deliver training or support a range, just do heartstart and tick the pointless “all staff need some FA” box.

By the way, I also get FAW through my work and while I am the office first aider, the real reason is for cadet use and to avoid my skills becoming “inbred”


So how is FAAW accepted by the Corps, if what it covers isn’t relevant?

It’s not just for office based environments, I’ve been on refreshers with dockers, builders, electricians, plumbers, people from supermarkets and all points in between.

When you look at the AFA syllabus you cover that and more in FAAW.

Why would you say that? As pointed out above, AFA is recognised both by our organisation and by the relevant NGBs.

The simple way to look at it:

For RAFAC purposes - AFA = FAAW. There is nothing as far as I know that you can do in the RAFAC with an FAAW that you can’t do with AFA.

For HSE purposes, AFA < FAAW. I have no problem with the idea of the Corps offering FAAW courses as well as AFA for those who would find it useful, but the bottom line is that AFA should be our primary choice as it doesn’t require people to take a day off of work to do it (or cut in to two weekends).

You can do a two day FAAW course which takes you to do 6 hours online in advance, not all at once

It is relevant. It just isn’t optimised.

As have I, but there is still a tendency towards dealing with incidents in urban areas in a workplace environment so it is less suited to dealing with someone tripping in a ditch up a hill somewhere. It is probably adequate but we can do better.

I would say that 99% of our first aid is in the urban environment, mostly at Sqn HQs and just like the things that happen at home.