Food for thought

Peter Littleton, Technical Director at Christeyns Food Hygiene, talks about the benefits of e-learning when it comes to food and beverage safety training.

Hygiene and cleaning regimes are fundamental to the safe operation of food and beverage manufacturing and processing plants. A lapse in these regimes can lead to potentially serious outcomes: a reduction in profit due to product recall or production shutdown and, more seriously, illness and in extreme cases, death.

Creating a culture of best practice that is consistent and current is key in maintaining food and beverage safety. By working together HR, Hygiene and Facility Managers can better understand the day to day challenges and how to overcome these through training and skills enhancements.

The food and beverage sector often incurs high staff turnover rates which makes training more difficult to manage, and can lead to a skills gap if not handled properly. A second key problem is actually getting staff off the production line to attend training. One-to-one learning is not cost-effective and taking sufficient numbers off the production line at one time would lead to disruption in output.

Innovation is another factor. Systems and processing technologies are regularly updating as well, with advances in hygiene chemicals and cleaning techniques. This requires regular monitoring to ensure that skills and knowledge match any new systems in place and staff are trained to work to their best abilities.

E-learning offers a solution to these problems.

On a basic level, it means that all learning can be done on site, or at multiple sites, there is no travelling time or costs involved in getting to a training venue, no tutor or venue costs and no constricting time slots. Staff can carry out their skills and knowledge updates in downtime, i.e. when there is scheduled cleaning or maintenance on the production line or as and when it fits in with their work schedules.

Unlike traditional classroom learning, which tends to be a full on, day or half-day session, e-learning can be done in bite-sized chunks on multiple devices, where the learner picks up where they left off at a time convenient for them.

Fast and flexible deployment means new information can be rolled out quickly to all your workers all at once and new staff can be brought up to speed in the


minimal amount of time. Everyone gets the same material, same core content and method of delivery, keeping the information consistent.

For HR managers, administering e-learning should be easy and efficient. When it comes to selecting an e-learning package, there are several things to consider, most importantly relevance, time and cost. Will a course with generic content be sufficient to meet your training needs or will the fact that it caters to a broader industry audience be a deterrent when it comes to learning?

What sort of budget do you have and how many employees do you need to provide training for? Are there any time restrictions, both in terms of the time staff have available and also the date you need the training to be in place by?

In answering these questions, managers can best decide what type of learning package most suits their needs. This could be off-the-shelf or fully bespoke, or a programme that offers the best of both.

Moviemento is a fully adaptable Learning Management System and e-learning package designed to meet the specific hygiene requirements of food and beverage production environments. Introduced to the UK market this month, the online platform simplifies the process of knowledge sharing, providing management of all company- wide training programmes for seamless, up to date, continuous learning across every department.

The platform offers ready-to-use content but topics that are relevant only to the food and beverage manufacturing sectors and has been designed and built in conjunction with food safety experts. Content is constantly updated to incorporate industry developments and standards changes, such as those brought in by the BRC V8, introduced last year. Learning can also be assigned dependent on job function, job level and performance to date, providing tailored and customisable courses that are engaging and relevant.

Traditional, off the shelf, e-learning offers a ‘set menu’ of access to either a single course or a suite of training in a prescribed format where the learner progresses through to successful completion.

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