Quality assurance is the process in which the quality of a product being delivered is examined to ensure it meets the required standard, for example; Emergency First Aid at Work or First Aid at Work qualification. Currently Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work are part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), a system to catalogue all qualifications that are currently regulated by OFQUAL.
Who are OFQUAL?
OFQUAL are the guardians of the qualification; they regulate them but they are not an awarding organisation. They will do this for all national awards such as GCSE’s and A Levels.
What is an awarding organisation?
The awarding organisation, for which there are several for first aid, require a quality assurance process to be in place for training providers that are delivering qualifications such as First Aid at Work and the Award in Education and Training. They are ultimately accountable to OFQUAL who are in turn accountable to the government.
There is a requirement for the awarding organisation to have its own Quality Assurance process; therefore there is a two-stage approach.
Stage One – Internal Quality Assurance
Stage one is carried out internally by the training provider. There are several processes that can be carried out internally to inform a quality assurance decision. These include:
- Sampling an agreed number of the portfolios produced for the qualification and examining them to ensure they meet the required assessment criteria
- Observing the trainer who is delivering the first aid course and assessing them on the way they deliver the qualification
- Talking with students undertaking the qualification to try and understand how the delivery of the qualification has been received
Taking all of this into account, it gives South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, (the training provider) assurances that the qualification being delivered meets the assessment criteria set by the awarding body.
Stage Two – External Quality Assurance
The second part of the process is carried out externally by the awarding organisation. The awarding organisation will appoint an External Quality Assurer who will carry out a similar process to that of the Internal Quality Assurer. They may look at a sample of all the portfolios produced within a set time frame to ensure they also meet with the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the qualification, thus giving the awarding body assurances that they are complying with the criteria set by the qualification that is regulated by OFQUAL.
You can see from the processes that are required for qualifications such as Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work that there is a lot more involved than just participating in the course and claiming a certificate at the end of it, but what are the benefits to you as the student?
No matter where, or with whom, you have completed your course, you have the confidence that you were taught the appropriate information and the work you have produced has been assessed and passed at the appropriate level. You have earned your certificate and should be proud of it!