The European Trauma Course (ETC) was officially launched during the international conference of the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) in 2008. The ETC was developed on behalf of ESTES (European Society of Trauma and Emergency Surgery), EuSEM (European Society of Emergency Medicine), the ESA (European Society of Anaesthesiology) and the ERC. The objective of the ETC is to provide an internationally recognised and certified life support course, and to teach healthcare professionals the key principles of the initial care of severely injured patients. Its core elements, that differentiates it from other trauma courses, are a strong focus on team training and a novel modular design that is adaptable to the differing regional European requirements. This article describes the lessons learnt during the European Trauma Course development and provides an outline of the planned future development.