Published: July 13, 2022 | Updated: July 14, 2022

Megan’s mission to teach first aid skills after the sudden death of her dad at work, aged 51

Megan Austwick, Head of Training and Development, First4Training. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

First aid training is not just Megan Austwick’s passion, it’s also very personal.

Five years ago this November her dad, Mark, a Sales Director, died after a sudden cardiac arrest at work.

He was 51 and with no history of heart problems.

Megan, who was 21 at the time, said: “After losing my dad, I have been on a mission to teach as many people as possible the skills needed to be able to respond to an emergency first aid situation.

“This is my passion alongside mental health first aid.

“The consequences to my mental health when I experienced the loss have been huge.

“Yet so many workplaces can still do so much more when it comes to supporting their employees and their mental health.”

Now 26, Megan is in the best possible position to put her passion into practice.

She’s Head of Training and Development at First4Training.

The Poole-based business offers over 200 e-learning courses and practical training at its centre in Willis Way, ranging from health and safety to manual handling.

Megan joined at the end of last year and creates, and delivers, first aid courses alongside FAA (First Aid Awards) guidelines.

They include one and three-day courses in emergency first aid, a half-day basic life support course and a one-day course in mental health first aid.

Megan said: “I love being at the front of the classroom and sharing my knowledge.

“I head up the physical training and practical courses.

“The most popular are the one-day emergency first aid at work and also the one-day mental first aid courses.

“I enjoy both of them because they’re completely different but with lots of links.

“For the learning experience a lot of people find being in the classroom is a lot better for them. You tend to get more engagement.

“But we also go out to business locations.

“We don’t just offer the first aid training but the support around it.

“Things like the first aid kits needed, how an ambulance can find you by setting three words and who on the team will be in touch with them.”

Megan, who has a younger brother aged 24, said she often shared her own experiences while training.

She said: “Courses can be very legislation-based but if people ask then I’m very happy to talk.

“I often come across people who have been touched by a first aid requirement or something to do with mental health.

“Some people want to share their experiences and others don’t and that’s fine, too.

“However, I always want to make courses as real as possible.

“The truth is that these things happen.

“My experiences are proof of that which is why it’s so important people are taught first aid.

“You just never know when you might have to put into practice something learned on a course.”