Foundation Training

If you are a medical professional then you are eligible to take short foundation courses in Injectables for Aesthetic Medicine. At Harley Academy, we do Foundation Days differently. We all know that this is just the first step in your journey to becoming a fully trained aesthetic practitioner, and we want to be by your side for all of the further steps in your aesthetics career. But what is foundation training designed to do? And how far can it take you?

What is foundation training?

Foundation training refers to the minimum amount of training required for a new aesthetic practitioner to get insurance. In the UK parliamentary system, aesthetic medicine forms a kind of legal Bermuda Triangle: a loosely-defined area with recommended laws going in (Keogh 2013; HEE 2015, 2016; Nuffield 2017) but yet to return on the other side. As such, there are no laws around who can practice. Private medical insurance companies alone regulate the industry by setting minimum insurance requirements.

Foundation training is usually delivered over a weekend or in just one day. In the UK, this means that clinical professionals can deliver facial injections after a single day of training. Moreover, foundation courses do not assess student competency — only the ability to pay for and attend the day.

All cosmetic training centres deliver foundation training. However, one problem with the UK’s aesthetics training industry is that many training course providers still only deliver foundation training – the legal minimum. This leaves a dangerous skills gap in one of the world’s most lucrative industries.

How far can foundation training get you?

Foundation training opens doors, but it’s still up to you whether you walk through them. Aesthetic medicine is increasingly competitive, and the quality of your foundation training may determine whether you continue in the sector.

Some practitioners have long and successful careers after a single foundation training day. Yet many also feel the need for much more in-depth training, and either take multiple foundation courses or opt instead for a postgraduate level course, either with a university or a vocational medical school like Harley Academy.

As the number of doctors opting for private work increases so does the standard of training required for a competitive edge. Foundation training is, therefore, a necessary but not necessarily sufficient step towards a successful career in aesthetic medicine.

If you are thinking of taking a foundation day in aesthetics, make sure that you choose a training academy that can offer you further training and support afterward. If you’re interested in changing career to aesthetics, the full Level 7 (postgraduate) qualification in Injectables may be more suitable. We also offer courses in skin rejuvenation practices such as chemical peel training. 

Read more about Level 7 qualifications here

What are the limitations of foundation training?

There are three main limitations to foundation training:


The best leaders in aesthetics provide consistent results, adapted to the individual anatomy of each patient. Foundation training introduces the cosmetic procedures, but only lots of practice (such as via in-depth 1:1 mentoring) can provide confidence and tactile proficiency.

Read more about mentoring here

Appearance psychology

Self-esteem and appearance concerns are complex issues that come up a lot in aesthetic practice. HEE, GMC and Nuffield Council recommendations emphasize the importance of providing psychological care. Again this is something which can only be touched on lightly during foundation training. Hence why the Level 7 in Injectables for Aesthetic Medicine dedicates an entire module to the psychology of appearance.

Read about our psychology module here


If Health Education England’s training requirements for the delivery of cosmetic procedures (2015; 2016) become legal requirements under a future government then foundation training will no longer be recognised. It is clearly stated in the HEE guidelines (2015) that

‘very short courses, eg 1-2 days in duration, will not meet the requirements for APL/RPL [recognition of prior learning].’ (HEE, 2015, p. 39).

The alternative will then be to gain a nationally recognised qualification. These are already highly regarded by employers who are looking to futureproof their clinical workforce.

Read about HEE Guidelines here


Upon completion of foundation training, you will be able to work in aesthetics clinics, medispas, or start your own business. This is because our foundation training is accredited by leading insurers:

Cosmetic Insure offers one month of free insurance to our foundation day attendees.

Hamilton Fraser also offers competitively priced cosmetic insurance to all attendees of a Harley Academy foundation day in Botulinum Toxins and Dermal Fillers.

Already completed foundation training?

You’re welcome to skip step one of the Level 7 course if you have completed foundation training elsewhere. However, Harley Academy foundation training is highly regarded and will give you a recap of best practice and technical fundamentals. Foundation days also give you the opportunity to meet other members of the Harley Academy community.