More pound shop props

Here are my favourite health and safety props to help discussions about power tools as work equipment. They are lightweight and each have action features and noise without need for batteries. They are precious now as I have not found them anywhere since. It makes such a difference to handle and play with these while talking through competence, maintenance, fault reporting, electrical safety, PPE etc. Who needs PowerPoint???!!!


Americans are crazy trainers – its official!


So I just had to share this photo very kindly send by Beth Brewer from Alabama –  no, its not a Harry Potter thing, its a ‘poop’ hat! She uses this along with many other weird and wonderful props, to make sure that her food safety education programs are exciting and memorable. That’s Americans for you!!!

You can check out her website here:

Food Safety with Beth

Thanks Beth for sharing your poop!


Poundshop resources and bargain props!


Here it is, the humble pet toy!!! Just £1 buys a multi-purpose fun resource with a number of practical uses.

With this simple, slightly humorous prop (it squeaks!) a number of food safety principles and practices can be easily and quickly demonstrated and discussed. Here are my top 5…

  1. Food may look great, smell great, taste great – but it may make you seriously ill!
  2. The outside is cooked,  but it doesn’t mean the inside is cooked!
  3. Where would you probe this chicken?
  4. If it is for a cold chicken salad, how should we cool it down?
  5. To what temperature (and for how long) would you cook this?

Do you have a favourite multi-purpose prop?

Coaching for Trainers?

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” Pete Carroll

Do trainers need coaching? – I have asked this before, and always thought I would be hesitant to meet up with a coach myself, until someone pointed out to me that I am a coach! (as are most true trainers) …and that if I looked at what I do for my clients in detail, I would realise that, and then be more receptive to search for my own coach.

Its International Coaching week – and although I sometimes think these things are invented just to sell products, I have been reflecting on coaching (mentoring etc.) and have found that focus to be very useful in planning the rest of my year. More to come soon, but for the time being,  here’s three great coaching questions that certainly provide food for thought…

1. If you had as much time (or money) as you needed to build, grow or improve your business, what would be the first extra thing that you would do?

2. Is that one thing more important in the big picture than some things that you do now?

3. Is there anything that you should stop doing now so that you can add in the important  thing you currently don’t have time for?


Happy coaching week!

Face to face training is the biz!

I have just about completed an intensive series of face to face training events for 3 separate clients, and I have emerged as enthusiastic as ever about the fantastic opportunity and privilege to motivate and inspire people, which such training provides. Yes, the office at home is now littered with props, handouts, course books etc. and the computer is holding numerous new powerpoints!

I remember my first ever training session presentation, to my first (and only)  girlfriend’s human biology ‘O’ level group (adult learning group!) – “The work of the EHO”. When I look back, I cringe at how awful it must have been, with 125 35mm slides in two hours! At that point I was determined to get better at this, and undertook a life-changing teacher training course. And the rest is history! Although I must have got something right on that first session, as we ended up married!

What whetted my appetite was the chance to educate others about the world of environmental health, and how they too can play their part. Since then I have delivered hundreds of sessions and presentations, learning from positive and constructive feedback, (and a few negative comments!), training almost 3,000 learners along the way to achieve a CIEH qualification. And I still feel as enthused as I did on that very first session, if a lot less frightened!

So, I am now starting a series of “lessons learned” from my training experience, and I would love to include yours too! Just send me a brief outline of the lesson learned as a trainer, from your own real life experience, and I will be delighted to publish it here. I am happy if you want it to be anonymous, or your initials only.

Send to

Finally, PLEASE share this with any of your training colleagues and ask them to sign up on the website so they get these blogs too. The more hits I get, the more blogs I write!!!

Au revoir!


After Easter, what upcoming themes will you use in your trainings?

So, I guess all my fellow trainers took at least one opportunity to theme a training event around Easter? Mine was simple, giving out mini eggs as prizes at a recent presentation. Of course, theming is great fun, but it has its challenges, especially if you work in a heavily ‘PC’ environment – that’s entirely down to the trainer’s decision – be sensitive to isolating or even offending anyone – generally I have found most learners do not take any offence, and enjoy the theme, as long as its not overdone to the point of distracting from the training. Possible themes this year are:

World Cup Football

Summer holiday pictures




TV shows like X factor, Strictly Come Dancing, Big Brother, Celebrity Jungle?

Please share your ideas or experiences by commenting or email if you want more ideas for theming


Do your learners ever ask “Why am I here?”

why am i hereThere’s so much to do at the beginning of  a training course, whether regulated/examined or not – the principles are the same (Maslow of course!):

  • Make the learning environment comfortable
  • Set out your style with positive intentions in mind
  • Relax the learners
  • Outline the programme, outcomes, resources, assessment, teaching and learning style, domestic and emergency arrangements etc. etc. etc.

Phew! All necessary but it does steal time, and its not really exciting! (although of course it can be!!!)

In the midst of this, do you ever forget to properly discuss the purpose of the training (not the same as learning outcomes) and why each individual is attending the programme?

Here’s a powerpoint slide which you can use or adapt to help kick start the initial conversation – “Why are we here?”. It has some fundamental questions plus examples of possible thoughts that learners might have which they may or may not voice.

Oh, by the way, just a small point, but, you had better have good answers to the questions!!!!

You can download the powerpoint slide here with my compliments:

why am i here

Always interested in how you open your trainings too!