Do you know the difference

Do you know the difference between regulated and unregulated first aid training?

You would be quite surprised at how many people don’t know the difference.

Do you know the difference?

It happens a lot, and it comes up frequently in conversations we have with prospective business partners because some business owners clearly do not understand the difference between regulated and unregulated first aid training or what they need to do when working with an unregulated first aid provider.

This all resulted from a change in regulations in October 2013.

Do you know how did this change come about?

Until September 2013, first aid training providers were required to register with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in order to conduct HSE-standard first aid courses.

However, in October 2013, the market was deregulated, allowing for a wider range of first aid training courses from a greater number of providers.

This has given the first aid training industry the option of offering regulated or unregulated first aid training courses. Some providers choose to offer regulated certifications through Ofqual, while others choose to offer unregulated courses.

But do you know the difference?

Regulated First Aid Training

You will be surprised at how many regulated qualifications there are, and they continue to grow as new qualifications and enhanced qualifications become available.

However, regulated qualifications have one thing in common: they are all assessed programmes of learning that have been developed by an awarding organisation, or occasionally more than one.

Awarding organisations must obtain clearance for their qualifications from one or more regulators. In England, the regulator is OFQUAL; in Wales, it is Qualifications in Wales; and in Scotland, it is the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Some qualifications have more than one regulator because they are offered in different parts of the UK.

Regulated first aid training providers must meet a set of standards established by the ‘Awarding Organisation’, which include having a recognised teaching qualification, a first aid qualification that meets the requirement to be able to teach the first aid courses for which they have sought approval, and a minimum of 40 hours of training experience.

They will be externally and internally quality assured each year to verify that the providers fulfil the ‘Awarding Organisations’ criteria and requirements.

Regulated qualifications are designed from the bottom up

Employers and other stakeholders are generally involved in the design and development of regulated qualifications to ensure that they follow best practices or accepted national occupational standards.

All regulated qualifications are subject to internal and external scrutiny, and each training provider of that qualification must have internal quality assurance in place to ensure that everything meets the awarding organisation’s criteria for becoming a first aid training provider offering their qualifications.

This will then be externally quality assured by the awarding organisation, and appropriate action will be taken if the training provider fails to fulfil the specified requirement.

Every 9 months, we are assessed for compliance and may be asked to submit paperwork for a random ‘dip sample’ at short notice.

How do you know its a regulated qualification certificate?

All regulated qualification certificates must feature the regulator’s logo(s), which are internationally regarded as a sign of quality with regulated qualifications; they must also include the awarding organisation’s logo and the qualification specification.

The awarding organisation numbers these certificates so that the holder of that qualification may be identified by that number. The qualification number is stored in the awarding organisation’s database, which can be accessed via the awarding organisation’s website.

The certificate holder may only have one certificate in circulation at any given time, and replacements are only granted if the granting organisation’s criteria are met and they are satisfied that they have been met.

The regulated qualification is for the person who has satisfied all of the requirements for that qualification, has completed an approved path of learning, and has satisfactorily passed the course.

Some employers believe the qualification is theirs, but it is not. We have had a few conversations about this with our customers, and on one occasion, we had to consult our awarding company to ensure the employer understood.

Is regulated first aid training more expensive?

Pricing depends on whether the provider offers “Regulated or Unregulated” first aid training.

While it is true that a first aid training provider who provides’ regulated’ first aid training must pay awarding organisations, we would absolutely respond to this issue with, ‘How much do you actually value your time?’ If you have the time and skills to conduct your research, unregulated may be an alternative for you.

However, with a regulated qualification, the awarding organisation has already completed the due diligence for you, and this meets all HSE due diligence criteria for first aid training.

Any workplace will accept a first aid qualification that is OFQUAL-regulated, and the learner can take it there.

An unregulated first aid course may not be valid in all workplaces, which is why we constantly question if you understand the distinction between the two types of first aid training.

Unregulated First Aid Training

Unregulated first aid courses differ from regulated first aid training courses in that they are typically developed and designed by the training provider and are programmes of study. While some providers may obtain third-party recognition for the courses they have developed, there is no requirement for them to do so, and the vast majority do not.

They also do not require any additional quality assurance checks during the course’s design, delivery, or delegate assessment process, as well as the awarding of achievements by the supplier to the delegate.

Our thoughts

Ultimately, it is up to the business owner or employer to determine if an unregulated or regulated qualification fulfils their needs and standards.

If they choose an ‘unregulated’ course, the business owner or employer is responsible for conducting their own due diligence to verify it fulfils their needs and regulations. In most cases, the provider must demonstrate that the training provided fits the needs of the employer or business owner.


If they choose a regulated qualification, the employer or business owner is not required to conduct any additional due diligence checks because it already meets the requirements because it is a regulated qualification delivered through an awarding organisation that uses an approved provider.

We are often asked what the difference is, and here is it.

What do we offer

At Warwickshire First Aid Training, we decided from the start that all of our first aid training qualifications would be regulated. We welcome both internal and external quality assurance audits because they help us improve our training and delivery to our customers.

We aspire to provide the highest-quality available training that is “up-to-date, precise, and fit for purpose” for all of our customers.

Our most popular first aid qualifications among our customers are Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work, which are delivered on their premises.

We also provide first aid training for schools, including Emergency Paediatric First Aid and Paediatric First Aid.

These are also held monthly at our training centre in Rugby, Warwickshire, for individuals and small groups.

Specialised short first aid training courses include Responding to Incidents with an AED, Responding to Anaphylactic Reactions, and Basic Life Support (Adult and Child).


It depends on whether you want a regulated and validated first aid qualification that is widely recognised and follows a path of learning that can be traced back to the accrediting agency, the training provider, and the person who took the initial first aid course.

The awarding organisation’s database will contain a record of the person’s achievement, which can be checked and validated.

All accredited first aid courses are frequently IQAd and EQAd for compliance, whereas unregulated first aid courses are not required to do so.

We frequently ask our partners, “Do you know the difference between regulated and uncontrolled first aid training?”

The choice is clearly up to the employer or business owner, but you now understand the difference between regulated and unregulated first aid qualifications.

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