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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.

Australia has seen increases in illnesses and conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, mental and behavioural conditions, diabetes and allergies) and an increase in the number of serious injuries in the workplace. The growing pervasiveness of these illnesses, conditions and accidents among the Australian population requires individuals to be equipped with the skills to respond. First Aid prepares individuals with the fundamental skills to provide the required support before medical assistance arrives. The application of First Aid can reduce and/or prevent hospitalisation, requirement for treatment/s and potential long-term health implications.

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.

First Aid is applicable across all industry areas. By legislation, all organisations in Australia have jurisdictional obligations regarding Work Health and Safety or Occupational Health and Safety. First Aid training requirements differ across industries as well as jurisdictions. Some industries require specific competencies. For example, in early childhood education and care, workers are required to be trained in anaphylaxis (HLTAID004 - Provide an emergency first aid response in an education and care setting).

There are no vocational education and training (VET) qualifications in this sector. The First Aid Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has responsibility for eight units of competency, packaged in the HLT – Health Training Package, which are specifically designed to meet First Aid requirements in Australia. These units of competency are used across almost every Training Package on the national register. 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.

Information sourced from the First Aid IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Training trends

Training snapshot

The number of First Aid subject enrolments has grown considerably over the last few years. In 2018, there were over 3 million subject enrolments in First Aid units of competency. The majority of these enrolments (92%) 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 (20%), Health (19%) and Business Services (5%). 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 more than 1,383,620 subject enrolments
  • HLTAID003 - Provide first aid, with more than 964,510 subject enrolments.

About two-thirds of the training is provided by private training providers (68%), followed by about 27% 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 26% of the training, followed by students from Queensland (23%) and Victoria (20%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, please select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region please visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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


Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The First Aid IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identified the top priority skills for the sector as emotional intelligence, problem solving, teamwork and communication, technical/job-specific skills, and self-management.

The top five identified generic skills are:

  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Technology
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Customer Service / Marketing
  • Managerial / Leadership.

According to the job vacancy data, the top occupations seeking First Aid skills are:

  • Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers
  • Child Carers
  • Welfare Support Workers
  • Other Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers.

According to the First Aid IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the First Aid sector has been experiencing several challenges and changes which are impacting workforce skills requirements, including:

  • Government policy/legislation changes – variations in legal and regulatory implications between state/territory Work Health and Safety laws
  • Low language, literacy and numeracy skills
  • New technologies – emerging First Aid apps.

The Commonwealth, state and territory governments are responsible for regulating and enforcing Work Health and Safety (WHS) in their jurisdictions. Variations in legal and regulatory implications between state/territory WHS laws can cause difficulty in understanding the differences between the various First Aid Training Package Products. For example, it can be difficult for employers to determine which programs are best suited to their sectors and which criteria are the best indicators of programs that meet their needs.

There is a skills shortage within the practice of First Aid in relation to the level of language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills. It is important for First Aiders to develop their LLN skills, and for First Aid trainers to provide versatile training to students with LLN needs. For example, St John Ambulance has developed and implemented an online course to provide training on how VET practitioners can best assist learners with language and literacy needs in the First Aid classroom.

The advent of mobile applications ('apps') has facilitated automation and impacted the way in which First Aid is provided. First Aid apps have been developed to assist in an emergency, providing quick and easy-to-follow instructions to provide First Aid, accompanied by video and/or image-supporting material. First Aid apps allow users to conveniently access First Aid information, anytime, anywhere. However, the integrity of information provided by the variety of First Aid apps is questionable and currently not readily verified. Although technology can assist in the provision of First Aid, many practical hands-on elements remain essential to the practice of First Aid. Therefore, First Aid apps should be limited in use to merely complementing First Aid training.

The above Skills Forecast highlights that the diverse number of possible environments in which First Aid may be applied often creates complex and stressful circumstances which may require the application of key soft skills such as emotional intelligence, problem solving, self-management, teamwork and communication. Similarly, the diverse range of recipients of First Aid also draws on the need for these same key soft skills.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, 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:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019,

Data shown represent most requested occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by skills listed below.

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

  • Generic skills / Occupations / Employers
    • First Aid.
Updated: 24 Oct 2022
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