The sessions start at 10.00 so there's plenty of time if you do a school run, and end about 12.30 so you've got some of the day left for other jobs. There's a hefty coffee break in the middle, which is my favourite bit, where you catch up with your fostering friends. Blue Sky put on a cold buffet afterwards which is also a nice social time unless you're watching the pounds...
Training is mostly voluntary, a few things are compulsory. Take today; I'm off for my First Aid refresher. St John's Ambulance put on the morning; it costs £60 but Blue Sky pick up the tab.
The last one I went to was a hoot, even though the things they covered were obviously of massive importance. What to do with a burn, if someone's got a piece of food caught, something in their eye, how to put someone into the recovery position.
The thing that used to be called artificial respiration isn't called that any more, it's got revamped a bit and I seem to remember it's now called resuscitation although that may have been upgraded again, I'll find out later. Mouth-to-mouth isn't really the thing any more it's all about pumping the heart, you get to have a go on specially made dummies.
Someone from Blue Sky said something very wise about the training sessions; "It doesn't matter how much you already know, there's always two or three little gems you can pick up from every training session".
The thing I remember best from my last First Aid training session is to get someone to call 999 if a situation looks serious because even if the paramedics take 10 minutes the operator can put you through to someone fully trained who can talk you through things until they get there. If you are on your own it's still best to call 999 first. I have the number on my mobile phone's speed dial. I had to list it as "A999" to ensure it was on the screen when I press "Contacts" because my phone lists contacts alphabetically, contacts that are just numbers are listed last, so if I listed it as plain "999" I'd have to scroll down. Not what you need to be doing in an emergency.
I've not had to use any of the First Aid training in fostering. Touch wood. The toughest moment so far has been the removal of a foster child's stubborn splinter, but I knew about sterilising the needle, washing my hands and around the skin, disinfecting the tweezers, having a plaster ready, and putting ice on the spot where the splinter was as a poor man's local anaesthetic. The child was mightily impressed with the whole thing, and I went up a notch in estimation.
By the way, the ice thing was my own idea, they didn't teach that at First Aid, but I'll credit them with getting my thought processes going in the right direction.
And that's the thing about training; it underlines the fact that you are a professional, doing an important job. Keeping up with the latest thinking in all sorts of areas. Being as good as you can.