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First Aid


This page provides information and data on First Aid training, which is one component of the Health industry.

First aid is the immediate treatment or care provided to a person suffering from an injury or illness until more advanced care is given, or the person recovers.

Hundreds of thousands of people complete first aid training every year, whether it be for personal development (for example, a parent), or to meet job role specifications or Work Health & Safety (WHS) requirements. By legislation, all organisations in Australia have jurisdictional obligations regarding Work Health and Safety or Occupational Health and Safety. First aid is applicable across all industry areas.

The First Aid Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has responsibility for eight units of competency, packaged in the HLT Health Training Package. The units of competency are specifically designed to meet first aid requirements in Australia. The units of competency are:

  • HLTAID001 - Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • HLTAID002 - Provide basic emergency life support
  • HLTAID003 - Provide first aid
  • HLTAID004 - Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting
  • HLTAID005 - Provide first aid in remote situations
  • HLTAID006 - Provide advanced first aid
  • HLTAID007 - Provide advanced resuscitation
  • HLTAID008 - Manage first aid services and resources

For information on other health-related training and employment, visit the Health industry page and the various sectors.

Information sourced from the First Aid IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

First Aid Industry Reference Committee

Training trends

Training snapshot

The number of First Aid subject enrolments has grown considerably over the last few years, which has coincided with the endorsement of the eight units of competency in 2013.

In 2017, there were a little under 3 million subject enrolments in First Aid units of competency. The majority of these enrolments (88%) were subject-only activity, meaning they are not part of a qualification.

For those subject enrolments which are part of a qualification, the top four Training Packages are Community Services (37%), Sport and Fitness and Recreation (23%), Health (16%) and Tourism, Travel and Hospitality (6%). Combined they account for over 80% of First Aid subject enrolments undertaken as part of a qualification.   

The two First Aid units of competency with the highest number of subject enrolments are:

  • HLTAID001 - Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with 1,284,018 subject enrolments
  • HLTAID003 - Provide first aid, with 909,952 subject enrolments.

About two-thirds of the training is provided by private providers, followed by about 28% by community education providers. The vast majority of training (95%) is domestic fee-for-service, although the proportions vary depending on provider type. Students from New South Wales accounted for 28% of the training, followed by students from Queensland (23%) and Victoria (20%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

In January 2012 harmonised WHS laws were implemented across Australia under the national policy body, Safe Work Australia, and each jurisdiction developed their own state or territory WHS laws which have been largely based on the model laws drafted by Safe Work Australia. Western Australia and Victoria are exceptions as they have yet to transition to the harmonised WHS laws.

As part of the harmonised WHS laws, Safe Work Australia launched a harmonised First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice, which is regulated and enforced by the Commonwealth, and states and territories in their jurisdictions.

The WHS regulations place specific obligations on a person conducting a business or undertaking, to ensure adequate facilities, including first aid, are provided for the welfare of workers. First aid requirements include:

  • provision of first aid equipment and ensure each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment
  • ensure access to facilities for the administration of first aid
  • ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.

First aiders should hold a nationally recognised statement issued by a registered training organisation (RTO) for the nationally endorsed first aid unit(s) of competency. Generally speaking, most first aiders are trained in HLTAID003 - Provide First Aid. Jurisdictional and industry sector requirements will require first aiders to regularly refresh their first aid knowledge and skills and to confirm their competence to provide first aid. Generally speaking, this is a 12-month refresher for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and three-yearly refresher for general first aid training.

An update is proposed to the eight First Aid units of competency within the Health Training Package.  The following areas have been identified in the First Aid Industry Skills Forecast as gaps in skills needs or areas for clarification:

  • changes in best practice through technology, experience and evolving circumstances
  • the incidence of asthma and anaphylactic reaction and the need for broader recognition of these conditions in the first aid units
  • the need to reduce ambiguity across differing jurisdictional frameworks
  • Mental Health support for distressed individuals.

The top generic skills identified by the IRC for first aid training include:

  • communication/virtual collaboration/social intelligence
  • customer service/marketing
  • technology
  • learning agility/information literacy/intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • design mindset/thinking critically/systems thinking/solving problems. 

According to job vacancy data, the occupations with the most demand for first aid skills are:

  • Early Childhood Teachers
  • Child Carers
  • Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers
  • Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals
  • Welfare Support Workers.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET students and courses from the following units of competency:

  • HLTAID001 - Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • HLTAID002 - Provide basic emergency life support
  • HLTAID003 - Provide first aid
  • HLTAID004 - Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting
  • HLTAID005 - Provide first aid in remote situations
  • HLTAID006 - Provide advanced first aid
  • HLTAID007 - Provide advanced resuscitation
  • HLTAID008 - Manage first aid services and resources.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Generic skills data have been extracted from the First Aid IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018,

Data shown represent most requested occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by skills listed below.

Skills have been used as industry filters because they provide more relevant job vacancy data for this sector.

  • Occupations
    • Skill: First Aid.
Updated: 17 Jan 2020
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