Lifesaver Ambassador Training

18 October 2021

Lifesaver Ambassador Training Scheme

In the lead up to national “Restart a Heart Day” the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) has launched a joint initiative with the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA), the Education Authority NI and St Mary’s University College, along with the other Teacher Education universities, to integrate a “train the trainer” model for Emergency Life Support, including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), into the teacher education curriculum.

The aim of the partnership is to create and deliver “Lifesaver Ambassador” training to student teachers, whereby they will bring into the school environment, as newly qualified teachers, the skills necessary to deliver Emergency Life Support skills to their pupils. The Department of Education recently announced that all children in post-primary schools will receive CPR training. Based on the same model as its forerunner, the “Community of Lifesavers Education Programme” will enable those schools, who have been previously registered in the “Heartstart” programme, to continue to deliver to children this vitally important training in how to save a life.

The initiative has the full support of St Mary's University College – Professor Peter Finn KSG commented:

"Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a major source of death in the community. As schools and colleges are at the heart of every community they have the potential to play a key role in CPR education, training and promotion. We are therefore delighted to be working with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service on its innovative “Community of Lifesavers Education Programme” to help develop resource materials for CPR education in schools. St Mary’s is committed to working in partnership with NIAS and CCEA to embed CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) awareness training within initial teacher education. This ambitious project will equip newly qualified teachers with the skills to deliver Emergency Life Support skills to pupils in primary, post-primary and Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools settings. Vitally, it will also allow those teachers to act as Lifesaver Ambassadors to broaden and develop those lifesaver skills within the wider community and, ultimately, save lives”.

Health Minister, Robin Swann, who attended the launch, said: “The announcement today that the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Community Resuscitation Team will provide Lifesaver Ambassador training to both undergraduate and post-graduate student teachers is a huge step forward in ensuring as many people as possible are trained in this lifesaving skill. These teachers will pass the skills onto their pupils, increasing the community of people who are trained and helping to improve survival rates of those suffering a cardiac arrest.”

Adding her support to the initiative, Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen, MLA said: “I welcome this valuable partnership. It is important that our teachers have the expertise and confidence to teach CPR in our schools. CPR is a critical and potentially life-saving skill. The dual approach of equipping our new teachers with these skills and providing CPR training to pupils within the school curriculum will undoubtedly have a clear and measurable impact on survival rates. It will, quite simply, save lives.”

Martin Hagan and Gabrielle Nig Uidhir from St Mary's University College are pictured
at the launch of the “Lifesaver Ambassador” training with the Health Minister Robin Swann
and the Education Minister Michelle McIIveen.


1. Partners include CCEA, Education Authority, St Mary’s University College Belfast, Stranmillis University
    College, Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
2. Lifesaver Ambassador Training will be delivered as part of teacher education curriculum.
3. Student Teachers will leave university with Lifesaver Ambassador status.
4. A ‘Lifesaver Ambassador’ is a trained instructor in the Community of Lifesavers Education Programme.
    They have been trained to deliver Emergency Life Saving skills including but not limited to CPR and use
    of an AED.
5. NIAS and CCEA have developed the Community of Lifesavers Education Programme to fill the void left by
    termination of Heartstart.
6. In NI there are 1500 Out of Hospital Cardiac arrests each year - with a survival rate of only 10%.

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