The following article was written by Knowledge Networks member Sunnibha Corcoran who recently took part in the Training & Mobility Programme.
I am Sunnibha Corcoran BSc, Principal Consultant and Food Hygiene Trainer (EHOA, CIEH) with Dundalk, Co. Louth based SMC Food Safety Management Consultants www.smcfoodconsultants.ie.
On December 4th 2013 the safefood Knowledge Networks Training & Mobility programme afforded me the opportunity to attend the 2013 Food Safety Update workshop held in conjunction with The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). The CIEH run a series of workshops each year covering various topics .The food safety workshops have been run across the water for the past few years so I was thrilled when they announced it was running in the Radisson Blu in Belfast this year.
The objective of the visit for me was to update my food safety knowledge both in relation to the food industry and in particular to training. I was very excited about the agenda for the day which included:
- Food Poisoning facts and figures
- Legislation update
- Managing infection from food handlers
- How to liven up bullet points in PowerPoint
I wasn’t disappointed – each topic was covered efficiently and concisely with lots of open discussion. As a practising food safety trainer and consultant, you might wonder why I was so very excited at the opportunity to be told how to do what I was supposedly already doing - but that is exactly what I wanted to hear! To borrow from our HACCP terminology I believe in Verification – self verification in this case. I wanted to be inspired to bring a fresh approach to my training, increase my food safety knowledge and seriously address my dependence on dull PowerPoint slides.
I have to say that from the start the tutors for the day - David Newsum and Dr. Belinda Stuart – FCIEH -had the group totally relaxed – they were approachable and welcoming. Although there was an agenda and timings were important – it felt informal and totally focused on our needs. They were able to impart their knowledge without condescending or intimidating their audience (a difficult thing when you are speaking to a group also believing they are experts in their field!).
Aspects I particularly enjoyed were looking at up to date food poisoning statistics and food poisoning case studies.
I benefitted greatly from the session on enhancing your learners powerpoint experience. How many of us are guilty of looking at buttons on our computer screens but never trying them out of fear? – I implore you to open your powerpoint and move the cursor to the Drawing tools – Quick Styles – you will be amazed at what your slides have been missing!
Something else that was reaffirmed for me was the power of discussion so much can be covered and knowledge imparted more effectively by moving away from the screen and discussing a particular theme or topic. Having the confidence to stop and allow the learners to filter what they are being told instead of ploughing on just to cover the information is something that I have already put into practice.
Asked to evaluate the impact the visit has had on my daily work, it is definitely positive. We have a responsibility to get the information across and out there in order to improve and maintain food hygiene standards across the different sectors. Also, as trainers our learners have a onetime experience so it’s very important we are energised, confident and passionate about the information being delivered.
The visit to the food safety workshop met all the objectives for me and has reaffirmed my confidence as a trainer – I recognise that I am doing a lot very well but it has also inspired me to change things up!
Thank you safefood Knowledge Networks Training & Mobility Programme.
If you would like to benefit from Training and Mobility Funding, applications are now being taken for travel in 2014. Please see the Training and Mobility page to find out more and to access the application form and guidelines.
Pictures of some activity sheets and training tools