Joan Brien is a Food Safety Adviser with TMA Food Safety, with over 10 years’ experience working in Technical/ Quality management roles, implementing food safety standards and providing training & mentoring services across a broad spectrum of industries - including dairy and meat (slaughtering, boning and further processing). Joan recently took part in the safefood Training & Mobility Funding Programme. In the report below, she tells us about her experience.
Visit Aims & Objectives:
I attended a Campden BRI FSSC22000 lead auditor training course to understand, implement and audit to the FSSC22000 food safety management system standard and also to learn the soft skills required in become an effective and impartial auditor.
Purpose & Relevance:
Having successfully completed the course, I now have the qualifications to conduct food safety management system (FSMS) audits and apply for professional recognition as a FSMS auditor, through IRCA or IFST. The standard of the other trainees was testament to the Campden BRI’s challenging reputation. All trainees were auditing on a routine basis and represented large, industry leaders including Mars, Ornua UK, Britvic, Suntory Beverages (Lucozade), Food Standards Agency to name but a few. The course was predominantly assessed on the performance of group exercises, and over the five days of the course and countless late evenings we all developed a great rapport.
The first three days of the course were structured around the standards (ISO22000 & ISO22002), understanding the requirements and audit preparation and the final two days were dedicated to conducting a mock audit.
There were three teams of four, all selected by the course tutors based on individuals own personalities and auditing techniques. One team consisted of the most experienced auditors and when watching the role play it was an opportunity for everyone to see ‘what good looks like’. Team B was made up of individuals each with a strong tendency to lead teams and when watching the role play sessions with this team it showed the importance of collaboration and teamwork and how that can have a significant effect on achieving maximum results. Team C was made up of various personality types and watching the role play in this instance proved that different techniques together can yield high results. During the role play sessions we were shown almost every type of audit scenario and were challenged on our response.
Irish food businesses are now looking at FSSC22000 certification as a means of demonstrating a strong food safety culture and taking an edge over the competition. Having successfully completed the course, I aim to provide support to those businesses seeking FSSC22000 certification in terms of training, mentoring and auditing solutions to this standard.
Added Value & Realised/Anticipated Benefits of Visit:
The course tutors themselves are hugely experienced, the main tutor being Richard Leathers, an FSSC22000 consultant and BRC auditor who also sits on the advisory board for ISO22000. To be able to tap into their depth of knowledge was fantastic and a great opportunity. I spent five days with an exceptional group of professionals, each highly skilled auditors in their own organisations and I now have a network of experts that I can reach out to.
I would strongly recommend anyone considering attending career-enhancing courses or conferences to contact safefood Knowledge Network, the application process is uncomplicated and with such quick response times it’s very worthwhile.