St John Ambulance

Contact Us Login Donate

What to Expect at a "Provide First Aid" Course

Are you interested in joining a first aid course? Whether you’re looking to equip yourself with life-saving skills, or because it’s required by your workplace, first aid knowledge is a valuable benefit for yourself and your community.

If you’re unsure of what course to take, you might want to consider HLTAD011 Provide First Aid, a comprehensive, nationally recognised course offered by St John Ambulance Victoria. It is available as 1-day, 4-hour, and virtual classroom options, delivered by highly skilled trainers with over 100 years of combined experience.

Here’s what to expect at a St John Ambulance Victoria Provide First Aid course, as experienced by Nicole, a first-time attendee:

Initial Concerns (We’ve All Got Doubts!)

When I was 12, a freak accident in school left me with a gaping wound on my head. There was blood everywhere. I was in so much shock that I didn’t feel any pain at all. I squeezed my eyes shut (I get squirmish when I see blood) as the school nurse attended to me. She applied pressure to the gash and comforted me while I waited to be transported to the hospital, where I received several stitches.

Growing up, I had never been exposed much to first aid. I’d always thought that emergencies were best left to the professionals… but what if the nurse wasn’t there? The accident could’ve turned out very differently.

In an emergency, we all want to be saved by someone – but are we ourselves prepared (and more importantly, equipped) to do the same for others? I knew I wasn’t, so when the opportunity arose, I was thrilled to learn some skills that could hopefully be of value to those around me.

As excited as I was, I didn’t know what to expect because I’d never been for any first aid training: would I really learn how to recognise and respond to life-threatening emergencies? And even if I did, would I actually know how to react to a real-life emergency, beyond the four walls of the classroom?

With these doubts, I was anxious to find out what awaited me.

I was enrolled at St John Ambulance Victoria’s Melbourne Training Centre (MTC), on King Street for a full day (8:30 am – 4:00 pm) of HLTAID011 Provide First Aid. Arriving at Flagstaff station, I took a beautiful morning stroll through the serene Flagstaff Gardens. And in just under four minutes, I found myself at the MTC’s lobby. There, I was greeted by Jo-Anne (Jo), my trainer for the day.


Getting Started

After settling us in, Jo promptly began the course with a briefing and overview of the day’s agenda. In her introduction, she shared the importance of knowing first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), having experienced first-hand the life-saving powers of these skills.

As a child, Jo experienced several personal encounters with CPR. And later in life, a friend had saved her from choking and severe asthma attacks. Likewise, there were many instances in her time as a volunteer and St John employee where she responded to, and successfully handled life-threatening emergencies.

After hearing Jo’s background story and depth of experience, I knew that I was in good hands (especially after discovering that she had been volunteering with St John since she was 8!).

And so, the lesson began!


Real-Life Scenarios

St John Victoria delivers their First Aid training through SJx, an enhanced learning experience with 

video simulations depicting real-world situations. This platform is said to reduce training duration by up to half, which piqued my curiosity on its effectiveness. Needless to say, I was delightfully surprised!

I loved how applicable the scenarios were, which really cleared my earlier doubts on being able to handle a real-life emergency. Now, I’m certain of what to do if someone at the gym experiences hyperthermia or if my friend sprains her ankle trying to catch my badly-thrown frisbee!

The videos provided an interactive first-person perspective, as if we were, in fact, present at a medical emergency. It was insightful to witness an elderly man fainting, a gym-goer dislodging their shoulder, and a child with a bee sting (among a variety of other scen

arios) – without feeling the actual pressure of the situation. I found this useful in visualizing and preparing myself for a real emergency.

There were also a bunch of handy abbreviations shown in the videos, such as DRSABCD (Danger, Response, Send, Airway, Breathing, CPR, Defibrillation), which helped students easily memorise action plans.


Hands-On Experience

In between the videos, we had the chance to try out some hands-on activities (the most fun part of the lesson!). To be honest, I felt rather intimidated by the CPR Manikin, mostly because I wasn’t sure if I had enough physical strength to properly perform chest compressions.

However, thanks to Jo’s detailed guidance and personal attention to each student, I got the hang of it pretty quickly! Within 15 minutes, I gained confidence in performing CPR on both adult and baby Manikins.

We were also taught how to safely position an unresponsive casualty; how to use an epinephrine auto-injector to treat anaphylaxis; the various ways to wrap a bandage; and more!


Integrated Assessment

If, like me, you’re not a fan of tests, you’d be delighted to find that SJx assessments are completed using your smart devices. Unlike most first aid courses, which require you to sit for a test at the end of the course, the SJx programme assesses you via quizzes throughout the lesson, after each topic. I found this really effective in helping me retain and recall key information.



Overall Thoughts

Content: Ranging from resuscitation and defibrillation, drowning and choking, and allergies, to strokes, shocks and burns, and bites and stings, the course covers 18 sub-

topics which are applicable to a wide range of health and safety emergencies. Personally, I can see myself applying these skills and knowledge if ever faced with such situations.

Duration: The duration of the course was perfect – at just the right pace for someone who has never been exposed to first aid, yet sufficiently engaging to keep those with experience on their toes. Jo ensured each student received attention and was always ready to further explain and clarify any doubts. In fact, it felt very much like a one-on-one session, despite having 16 other students in class.

Final thoughts: I went in with doubts and left with confidence, certainty, and most importantly, potentially life-saving skills. And all it took was a day of effective, comprehensive, and fun training! The SJx platform, coupled with Jo’s engaging approach, made my introductory first aid training truly an enjoyable and memorable experience.

If you’re considering a first aid course, I highly recommend this! It can help you save a life, and will most definitely change your life.

St John first aid training bandaging


This course teaches the skills and knowledge required to recognise and respond to life-threatening emergencies and provide a first aid response to a casualty in a range of situations.

St John first aid training trainer with student on CPR manikin


Learn the skills to perform life-saving (CPR) on an adult, child or infant who is unconscious and not breathing normally. 


4 Hour Face-to-Face