Sunnibha Corcoran BSc, Principal Consultant and Food Hygiene Trainer (EHOA, CIEH) and qualified IRCA Certified Lead Auditor with SMC Food Safety Management Consultants recently took part in the safefood Training and Mobility Funding Programme.

The programme afforded her the opportunity to attend a 5 day FSMS Auditor / Lead Auditor based on ISO 22000:2005 Training Course held in conjunction with The Kelmac Group.

3818790328?profile=originalThe objective of the visit was to achieve a formal food safety management system auditing qualification as part of my continuous professional development, and this course was of particular interest as it is accredited by the International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA) and it was focused specifically on food management systems rather than quality systems alone.

Although the course was extremely intense I thoroughly enjoyed it and found that as a group we were totally submerged in a learning environment from 8.00 am through to 5.00 pm each day. As a practising food safety trainer and consultant, I was particularly interested in the style of learning and found the tutor Gerry Kelly ensured each topic was covered efficiently and concisely with lots of open discussion. This proved particularly beneficial as the course was attended by individuals from different backgrounds e.g. meat processing, consumer foods divisions, regulatory bodies and the food traceability sector which made for different insights into the scenarios presented by the tutor.

The training sessions included individual and group activities – although there was an agenda and timings were important – it felt informal and totally focused on our needs. The tutor was particularly apt at creating scenario and discussion which moved us away from the usual PowerPoint presentation. This proved a very effective way of imparting knowledge and experience – I thoroughly enjoyed this learning style.

A full review of each clause of the IS 22000:2005 standard, learning and understanding the different terminologies and organisations, audit plans, the role of the lead auditor and the auditee, particular traits of an auditor were some of the topics explored. Aspects I particularly enjoyed discussing were “Emergency Response Plans” and “Evaluation of Compliance”. The more spirited discussions developed when determining non-compliances and exploring case studies – the tutor experience and knowledge proved significant at this stage.

The written exam on the final day caused the expected stress and worry but it soon became apparent that we were in good hands and the facilitator had us well prepared. I was delighted to have exceeded my own expectations and achieved the IRCA Certified Lead Auditor qualification.

Asked to evaluate the impact the visit has had on my daily work it is definitely positive. The qualification will also allow us to broaden the scope of services currently being offered going forward into 2017. We have a responsibility to keep abreast of emerging topics and continue our professional development. Being self-employed, this can be a challenge, as such courses can prove expensive and time is a luxury. Because of this, the safefood Training & Mobility Programme is very important and appreciated by small businesses like SMC Food Safety Consultants. The application process is uncomplicated and the staff extremely helpful and encouraging which again is important for individuals working for themselves.

Thank you safefood Knowledge Network Training & Mobility Programme!

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