At Borderlands First Aid, we’re often asked “Are your outdoor first aid courses approved by Mountain Training, British Canoeing or British Cycling?” Just like every other training provider, our answer has to be no. That’s because there’s no such thing as a Mountain Training Approved, British Canoeing Approved or any other national governing body (NGB) approved first aid course in most cases!

Outdoor NGB first aid policies

Each of the NGBs and awarding bodies have their own policy on first aid requirements for outdoor instructors and leaders. They all follow roughly the same approach however.  The first aid requirements for the Mountain Leader Award, White Water leader and coach awards are fairly similar. These all require a minimum 2 day / 16 hour first aid course, with a strong recommendation for it to be an outdoor specific course. The British Cycling L2 Mountain Bike Leader Award first aid requirement, along with most other outdoor ngb awards, is much the same.

As an example, the Mountain Training first aid requirements state:

“For all schemes except the Climbing Wall Instructor and Climbing Wall Development Instructor:

You must have physically attended and completed (i.e. not online) a first aid course which involved at least two full days or sixteen hours of instruction and included an element of assessment.”

What about 8 hour outdoor first aid?

Some NGB awards require a minimum of 1 day or 8 hours first aid training. The Mountain Training Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI) and Climbing Wall Development Instructor awards fall into this category. Within the paddlesports world, the British Canoeing sheltered water coach awards also need a 1 day course.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) guidance for their awards also states a minimum of 1 day training. The course content they expect however is far closer to that found on a 2 day outdoor first aid course. Unlike most other NGBs, both the RYA and British Canoeing do also accredit their own first aid training schemes. Neither insist however that award holders complete their course, so other providers can be used as well.

Recommended First Aid Provider?

There are a range of awarding bodies and training companies providing outdoor specific first aid. Some of the better known are ITC First, QNUK, Rescue Emergency Care and Remote Emergency Care (both known as REC First Aid).

None of the NGBs recommend a specific provider or company, but the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) have produced a suggested framework for outdoor first aid. This attempts to standardise the content of courses. The IOL framework also indicates the suitability of each course for different job roles and qualifications.

Mountain Training’s guidance on first aid recommends reading the IOL statement on first aid for further useful information.

Choosing an outdoor first aid training provider

With so many outdoor first aid training providers across the country, it can be tricky to decide who to complete your training with. Some providers offer regulated qualifications through an awarding organisation such as ITC First or QNUK. This should give some reassurance regarding the qualifications of your trainer. That doesn’t mean that unregulated qualifications are any less valuable. There are certainly some fantastic trainers out there who don’t offer regulated qualifications, but you might need to ask a few more questions regarding their background. The HSE has some useful guidance on choosing a first aid training provider.

Borderlands Outdoor First Aid Courses

If you’d like more details on Borderlands’ Forest of Dean and South Wales outdoor first aid courses, follow this link. If we’re not local to you, still get in touch as we’re happy to help with recommending other companies if we can.