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Guidance for Outdoor First Aid

IOL Guidance for Outdoor First Aid

Outdoor First Aid

First Aid Competence is an essential part of operating as an outdoor learning practitioner. The Institute for Outdoor Learning recognises and supports the provision of Outdoor First Aid training that is delivered at the appropriate level, by trainers with outdoor knowledge and assessed in a fair and relevant way.

Outdoor First Aid Standards

Guidance for Outdoor First Aid

Outdoor First Aid Questionnaire


  OFA Questionnaire Results


This statement of Good Practice is designed to support the maintenance and development of standards in Outdoor First Aid training and assessment. It is designed to support:

  1. Organisations and Providers of Outdoor Learning.
  2. Outdoor Instructors and Leaders.
  3. First Aid Training Providers, National Governing Bodies of sport and First Aid Awarding Bodies.

Aligning with the IOL Statement of Good Practice is on a voluntary basis. The Institute encourages:

  • Providers of First Aid Training to self declare that their course content and delivery is aligned with the relevant band described in this statement.
  • Employers, National Governing Bodies of sport and other interested parties to refer to the bands described in this statement where it simplifies the definition of a required level of First Aid Competence.

The IOL Outdoor First Aid Questionnaire is an online assessment tool that tests knowledge of the outdoor sector and application of First Aid knowledge and skills to outdoor learning scenarios where immediate help, shelter, equipment or facilities may not be readily available.

It is particularly suited to:

  1. Current and potential Outdoor First Aid trainers to test and evidence their knowledge and skills for delivering First Aid training to the outdoor sector.
  2. Outdoor instructors and Leaders who wish to ensure they can apply their current First Aid knowledge and skills to outdoor learning scenarios.
  3. First Aid trainers from any context who wish to broaden their knowledge and engage in continuing professional development(CPD).


 Complete Questionnaire

Outdoor First Aid Course Accreditation

  • Accreditation
  • Assessment Principles

IOL Accredited Course Logo

IOL Course Accreditation is an external, professionally based, quality assurance process for courses that develop the knowledge and skills of practitioners of outdoor learning.

It offers credibility for the training you are delivering, from the professional body in the sector, with:

  • Recognition that your course is designed and delivered with a clear aim, learning outcomes and appropriate assessment for learning.
  • Assurance that trainers are knowledgeable, skilled and understand the work of a practitioner of outdoor learning.
  • Highlighted listing on the IOL website of your Accredited Course(s) including course description, email and website links.
  • Use of the IOL Accredited Course logo in publicity material and on CPD certificates relating specifically to the course that has been accredited.

IOL Accredited Outdoor First Aid Courses must meet or exceed the IOL Guidance on Outdoor First Aid and each trainer must have passed the IOL Outdoor First Aid Questionnaire

The First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum have created a set of principles relating to assessment of Outdoor First Aid training to meet the IOL First Aid Training Statement of Good Practice. The assessment principles cover:

  1. Occupational competence of trainers/assessors
  2. Quality Assurance
  3. Sources of evidence to be maintained and made available to External Quality Assurers

The Institute for Outdoor Learning acts as guardian of these Outdoor First Aid Principles on behalf of the First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum and publishes the document on the IOL website.

Help Shape Future Revisions

The IOL Statement of Good Practice is seen as an evolving document that responds to the demands and needs of the sector, as well as guidance from HSE and other relevant bodies. The current version (1.2) is an evolution from a series of development meetings and discussions with a range of first aid training providers throughout Autumn 2015.

The IOL Outdoor First Aid Questionnaire has been developed by a range of IOL members involved in delivering Outdoor First Aid Training. The question set is open to revision and will be expanded over time to ensure questions are current, relevant and appropriate for the needs of the sector.

The Institute is open to supporting an Outdoor First Aid Training Research or Professional Discussion Group to guide future revisions to this statement if there is support from within the membership and wider sector. Please get in touch with the IOL Professional Standards Manager with your comments.


Outdoor First Aid Historical Notes

Development Meeting - March 2014

The notes are available from a meeting held in Manchester to consider an appropriate approach to the maintenance and development of standards in outdoor first aid training and assessment. Thanks to all who were able to attend, resulting in a good cross section of stakeholders. A healthy debate was had and a list of those present can be found on the attached notes.

Initial Consultations - 2013

Following the HSE announcement (2012) that they intended to withdraw from approving First Aid Training providers, the Institute for Outdoor Learning consulted with a range of Outdoor First Aid stakeholders to establish the current need and to consider what minimum standards for the content and delivery of Outdoor First Aid training and assessment might look like. The HSE guidance on the content of generic First Aid qualifications lays out the basic requirement for an employer, though has a limited amount to assist outdoor practitioners. Some NGB's do provide further guidance on the content of First Aid training to meet the needs of their own awards, though some leave this to the discretion of the practitioner.

It is apparent that many of the currently recognised courses delivered by outdoor practitioners for outdoor practitioners contain appropriate content and do so at a variety of levels. From both an employers and a practitioners point of view, there is scope to make things clearer by standardising minimum content for these courses. There is also a definite need to provide more certainty around the way in which course content is delivered to ensure skills are developed and assessed in an appropriate environment, as well as acquisition of knowledge. Finally, there is also a need to build on the HSE's guidance on minimum trainer competency to ensure Outdoor First Aid trainers understand the needs of outdoor and remote environments and that they access appropriate CPD to maintain the currency of their skills and knowledge

The Institute's initial consultations led to a proposed framework, a copy of which is attached and the working group behind this is now seeking wider feedback. The framework is designed to support maintenance and development of standards in Outdoor First Aid provision and to provide reassurance to employers looking to fulfil their due diligence obligations.



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