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So, it would appear that there are more and more course available. Some specifically for the theatre industry, and others not so. Here seems a place to start a list of options and what is:


'worth doing' ie you learn a lot, or found it interesting/useful

'essential' ie you needed that certification to work

'waste of energy' ie pointless course


I realise that there will be some conflicting opinions, but that's all part of the fun.


I'll start the ball rolling.


I recently completed a 'Practical fire safety in the work place (inc the role of the Fire Warden)' course. It was a one day course costing £100. There was nothing that I learned that I hadn't covered at school, or that was just common sense. It was a Kidde course, with one practical element putting out a mock fire with various extinguishers, and a hour long powerpoint presentation. I don't think it qualifies me for anything, but I have yet to find out. 'waste of energy'


PS The reason for asking is that I start a new job soon, the theatre are keen on staff improvement, so as they are paying, I may as well spend it wisely!


Would like info on IRATA, FAAW, Pyro Courses, Working at heights, plus many others...


PPS I thought this applied more H&S than training and Qualifications!

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How many grades of first aid are there?


Ie 1) genneral first aid - plasters, cuts, burn's etc


2) broken bones, cpr and life saveing


3) (im not sure if this is possible) useing life saveing equip like defibrillators


Or are they just all rolled in to one excpt the defibrillator because I've definatly heard of some one being qualified to use it.

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The way the whole H&S situation works now, with risk assessments and the like, is that one day you might need to prove that you are competent.


The only way to do this is to have proof that you have had recent, appropriate, training.


There was nothing that I learned that I hadn't covered at school, or that was just common sense


How do you prove that it is common sense?

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Fair comment Brian, but my question is for what jobs/roles do you need which qualifications for. Hence which make you 'more employable' and/or give you legal responsibility.


You can do a first aid course, but unless you are an appointed first aider then you have no legal obligation to help, only a moral obligation.


If I am to spend time, and money (even if it is other people) I would like the courses to open doors for me, as well as educate.

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Total Fabrications Rigging Course- definitely worth doing. Learnt a lot.


IPAF MPP Access Platform Course- Required for tower work, found that I (and the people I was with) knew most of the stuff already (having worked with the platforms for many years before a qualification was required), but it's always good to have it reinforced, and spot any gaps in your knowledge.

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OK, in the general 'technical entertainments' industry there are virtually no jobs that you must have a qualification for. Also, there are very few qualifications that are directly relevant (I'm not thinking of degrees etc here).


The only legal requirement that I can think of is the first aider.


For instance, you do not have to have the appropriate C&Gs in electrical installation to carry out electrical installations. You also do not have to be NICEIC registered (it's only a trade association after all). The Law only says that you must be competent and then doesn't define competent.


Take rigging; Regulations like LOLER only say that you should be competent.


However, as an employer, if I have a choice between someone who has no additional training and someone who has some then I'm going to choose the latter. I'm a great fan of in-service training and have previously gone to great lengths to make sure staff I managed received it.


With that in mind, I'd pick courses that you feel add something to your career. I don't know what your job involves but I'd never dismiss a course because ' I know how to do that'. I'm been in specialist engineering for 27 years now and I'm still learning. A few years ago, at one of the large companies I worked for in R&D, we were, according to our job description, expected to spend 10% of our time reading all the trade publications and generally keeping up-to-date.


As for which courses...


I'll give a plug for the 1-day pyro course (and admit a certain interest in that course).


I'm also going to be doing (=paying for myself) a PAT course this autumn.



and/or give you legal responsibility

You automatically have the legal responsibility whether you like it or not. Training, as a way of proving competence, will help when the brown and sticky hits the fan.

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How many grades of first aid are there?




I know a bit about how St. John's run their training, but there are other organizations which provide similar training. There are lots of first aid courses of various lengthes and content, from the 1 day Lifesaver course to the First Aid at Work course (3 or 5 days). The content of the courses is listed on some certificates but not many.


All first aid courses are designed to help you either treat a casualty or to stabilise them until an ambulance can arrive. As such the stuff you assigned level 1 is a part of all courses, along with the recovery position. That content is then built upon with the longer courses, for example, Lifesaver+ then adds CPR and medical conditions (e.g. Epilepsy). The longer the courses have more content, and much greater depth, including simulated accidents. With broken bones you can do a bit, mostly making sure the bones themselves do no more damage, but you really just have to get them to A&E, unless you're doing a mountain First Aid course where there is a bit more attention to that sort of injury.


Things like defribulaters and gas sets are covered by separate exams in the use of the equipment.


If you are doing the course as a part of employment then I would strongly recomend the First Aid at Work course, if it's in your own time (and on your money) then the Lifesaver+ is the best value for money (IMHO).




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Thanks brian, that explained most of the stuff I was looking for. But would like to keep the thread going, I still think there are many courses that are there to take yourmoney rather than train you.


I understand and fully agree with what you are saying about constant training. I've been working the industry for 10years and learing more now than I ever did at college. Put provong competence is a different story!


I have a Lvl2 Climbng qualification, which I think is more advanced than IRATA Lvl1, but is unrecognised in the industry.


I'm not sure I agree with you on the: "automatic legal resposibility" I worked as a lifeguard for some years, where you DO have a legal responsibility to help, and are in deep **** if you act in the wrong way. But as for the rest of the sports team, they had no legal obligation to help.

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In my opinion, everyone (but everyone) should do a good manual handling course. Eyerolling usually ensues, as people assume they know it all (and, yes, it is pretty simple really.) But until you've had a good explanation of the damage you can do to yourself (complete with photos, plastic models of discs pinging across the room, and stories of loss of earnings and hellish treatment) a lot of people are very bad at it, and don't take it seriously.
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I still think there are many courses that are there to take your money rather than train you.


I've been looking at PAT courses.


I've found commercials operations who offer a 2-day course at £350 a day all the way through to local colleges who do it in a day for £100! For the same course!


I guess the 2-day course is 2 days from 9:30 till 5:00 with an hour for lucnch plus tea breaks. The college course is one long day.


Mind you, a difference of £600 for the same exam certificate at the end is a bit steep.

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Find and do a relevant course every year. Its called personal or professional development, even if you get a certificate to do something you've done before.


A first aid course FAW or Appointed Person is personal and transportable, you take it with you and you renew it every few years. Going towards Ambulance tech, emergency medical tech or paramedic is usually pointless as to function you need at least a 40pound weight grab bag and an ambulance kitted with trolley, chair, oxygen, defib, and entenox, and all the one time disposibles.

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Without for a moment trying to either promote or discourage training of any kind:


1) It is a legal requirement that training is given where there are risks present in the work. The responsibility of providing adequate training is solely the employer's (or self employed person).

2) The responsibility you take at a personal level is limited by the work you are employed to do. If you are a supervisor, you most definitely have a responsibility for the people you supervise. If you are under the direction of someone, your responsibility is limited to the task you are given to do, in many cases it will actually be quite small. The people with responsibility are either the representatives of the employer, i.e. managers and supervisors or where relevant a self employed person.

The enforcing authorities almost always begin investigations with the question "Who told (the person injured) to do the work like this?".

3) A first aider has only responsibility to 'perform' tasks in which the first aider has been trained to do. The same applies to fire fighting duties.


Get any kind of training you can get - for your own benefit you will have something that many others don't have, you will always learn something; and it will build confidence and confidence.

It is an investment in time and money, and generally you do get what you pay for.

Recommendation from people who have already done the training you are considering is usually the best course.

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Once your basic trade skills are ok then extras like First aid at work elementary fire safety manual handling are added value in the employment/engagement business. Industrial truck skills may actually get you the job ( fork lift scissor lift boom lift )


A truly vital skill is selling, every new job or self employment comes by selling yourself.

Once you are employed your employer should train you as necessary, til then its up to you to be not only trained but certificated, and try to get transferable certs, a course that doesnt give you a cert or leaves it with the employer doesnt go with youi at the end of the contract

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