SCHOOLS in Devon are being offered the opportunity to create a generation of young life savers – free of charge.

St John Ambulance is using funds raised in the South West to deliver first aid training to 7 to 11-year-olds as part of the charity’s aim of teaching 18,000 children in the region by the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, teachers can give pupils a taste of what the training covers via the Big First Aid Lesson (, next month.

David Blackmore, district manager for St John Ambulance in Devon said: ‘We believe that first aid should be as much a part of growing up as learning to cross the road.

'It’s so easy to learn and can have such an incredible impact on people’s lives but, because it’s not compulsory on the national curriculum, only a minority of schoolchildren would know what to do if one of their classmates, or a member of their family became ill or injured.’

The call to train more youngsters comes as new research shows that 97%* of the area’s teachers think it’s vital to teach essential first aid skills in school, but only 22% of schools offer training.

Teachers also cite lack of staff training (41%), time (33%) and cost (26%) as barriers to introducing lessons into the classroom.

‘We want as many schools as possible to sign up to the Big First Aid Lesson and take advantage of the funded training we’re able to offer, this year,’ added David who will be among the trainers delivering lessons in the county.

‘Together, we can equip a generation with the skills to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.’ St John Ambulance is also looking for new first aid trainers to help meet demand for its training.

New trainers don’t have to be first aid experts, as full training is given, but teaching or training qualifications, such as PTTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) are a must.

To book St John Ambulance first aid training for schools, or find out more about becoming a trainer for the charity, call Grant Wilson on 01305 751157.

The Big First Aid Lesson St John Ambulance also wants hundreds of schools to join the Big First Aid Lesson – a free, interactive training webinar being streamed live into classrooms across the South West – on Friday June 20.

The only equipment schools need to take part is an internet connection and a screen (such as an interactive whiteboard) for their pupils to watch in the classroom or during assembly.

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