1st Intermediate course starts early in 2020

Come 7th of January I will be delivering the first course of the year, my favourite Intermediate Food Safety course (CIEH). As I reflect on this course, I first delivered it in 1990, yes 29 years ago!

So what has changed? In content, it’s campylobacter, e.coli, HACCP and allergens that have surfaced – and in teaching terms we have gone from overhead projectors and acetates to laptops, PowerPoint, smart screens and online media. In terms of the teaching style we have gone through multiple intelligences, 4MAT and student centred learning, and from essays and oral tests to multiple choice and instant certificates. What changes!!!

However one thing has remained constant – make sure learning is enjoyable, and that it is focussed on outcomes!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2020.

Client relationships are everything

Today I am travelling to London, taking a whole day out, not due home till after midnight – and paying for train fares and car parking, just to go to a client’s Christmas dinner – it’s all about relationships in consultancy – and it is not even my client (one I subcontract for a very good colleague). I am genuinely happy to go, press the flesh, and no marketing angle – that’s probably why we are invited as part of the family. No need to heavy sell when your client likes you!!! (hopefully!)

Free graphic – The HACCP continuum

Back in 2006 when the ‘new’ requirement for HACCP based food safety management was brought in, I was commissioned to deliver all of the introductory training for enforcement officers (for the FSA and CIEH). It was a testing time and a challenging training project!

One of the highlights was the development of a little idea that I named the HACCP continuum, which showed that the more complex or higher risk food businesses needed ‘full’ HACCP  but that less complex or lower risk businesses could use soothing else. The diagram below explains it – and I was recently asked, 13 years later, for it to be recreated so here it is:

HACCP continuum



Funny songs for teaching food safety

Some of my readers may know about “my little temperature probe” my comedy song about temperature control. I try to sing it on most of my food safety courses if I take my guitar along. It’s a bit daft, I can’t sing too well, matched by my guitar skills – but it’s my homage to George Formby!

This week when playing it I was impressed by one delegate who got it and laughed away at the little innuendos, but then also made technical notes in the middle of the song about time and temperature controls! I have often seen the song as just a throw away to remove tension before the exam. But this reminded me of the different ways in which people learn. Well done that student who passed the Foundation course with flying colours (as did they all)

This was one of my special community courses with low fees to improve accessibility. Despite colleagues saying that cheap or free training isn’t valued, these students certainly did appreciate it!

Summerhouse training starts now!

It’s a simple idea, and I have done it before, but running training courses in my home brings several benefits – cost saving, travel savings, cancellation has less impact, and I can have a good home cooked breakfast before we start! A few years ago I ran some PTC (remember those?) courses at my home in the summer. They were very relaxed courses, and several ‘students’ are still in contact today. The atmosphere is subtly different, and we had a great time.

Since then we have installed a modest summer house at home, and it seems a shame not to make use of it while still working, so next week the first course is a one to one Intermediate Food Safety course for a local chef, as part of my free training offer. We will have flipchart, and PowerPoint with personal screens, and the group exercises should be fun!!! I can’t wait!

Giant mindmap back after 27 years!

A long, long time ago I can still remember…. a giant mindmap I created for an Advanced Food Hygiene Course in Manchester – for city council catering staff. This was before Tony Buzan had started the serious marketing of his version of mindmapping© and we probably called it something else then. Sadly, in those days we didn’t carry a camera everywhere and so I never captured it or kept the multiple taped sheets in my archive more than a couple of years.

This week I had occasion to bring it all back on the last day of an Intermediate Health and Safety Course, building up from a classic ‘spider’ diagram of hazards for any piece of equipment. Once we added some simple bullet points for controls, the map grew and started to cover more of the course. Fortunately this time I photographed it so here it is – PowerPoint© might have its uses, but flipchart paper still rules the day for some things!

It even includes a quick reference of a risk assessment (profiling) rating system (bottom- right) which is alphanumerical and is the ideal intuitive system to teach effectively and quickly. Note that much of this mindmap is in varied and multicoloured writing –  all participants contributed directly to the build.

(This CIEH course was taught on behalf of Moonlight Environmental Ltd. – with kind permission to reproduce, and all participants passed the exam!! Well done to all)

H&S mindmap

My week!

So this week I finished the delivery of an intermediate food safety course, started an intermediate health and safety course, advised a lovely pub on how we can get it’s 5 hygiene rating, delivered one of my free allergens workshops in an ice cream parlour, attended a local business owners meeting and then responded to a request for advice on a small volunteer event serving tea biscuit and home made cakes, and then worked on allergens risk assessment formats, as well as a brief visit to a busy locality to consider potential terrorism emergency evacuation plans. Topped off with a delightful day with our granddaughter, and ending tonight with being taken to see Rocketman with my beautiful daughter, and tea at Nando’s – a slightly delayed Father’s Day treat. I’m a lucky lad! Hope you week was as exciting and exhilarating as that?