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St John Ambulance has started running face-to-face workplace first aid training for the first time since lockdown, with measures in place to ensure the safety of trainers and delegates.

The health charity will train people in 25 locations around the country this month in an attempt to help organisations tackle the backlog of what St John estimates to be 60,000 first aiders with lapsed qualifications required by law. 

Further venues will open gradually in the coming months, with 110 expected to be in operation by October, after the charity reports seeing higher-than-expected demand. 

Course delegates will be taught changes to first aid advice as a result of the pandemic and will need to follow strict protocols including social distancing to prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19. 

Director of Training and Enterprise at St John Ambulance, Mel Fox, said: “Many workplace first aiders have been left without an opportunity to get their legally-required requalification, so we’re doing everything we can to facilitate bringing them up to standard as soon as possible. We’re responding dynamically to demand, which we’re pleased to say has come in sooner than we thought.

“As well as fulfilling legal requirements, having qualified first aiders on hand is an important part of giving people confidence to return to the workplace.”

Some of the face-to-face training this week will form part of a new ‘blended’ training package which includes 50% online training. 

E-learning has grown in popularity during the furlough period, when St John saw registrations for its online learning centre multiply by 20 in six weeks.

Fox added: “It’s still necessary for people to have face-to-face training so they can practise their skills but we’ve found customers are now much more willing to combine this training with online learning. We’ll  continue to respond to customers’ needs with agility and expertise.”  

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