Scarcely a week goes by without some type of food scare or product recall, so it’s heartening to know that there are hundreds of companies who take the business of food safety seriously. Several of those undertake training in food safety, HACCP and auditing skills with leading training provider, Verner Wheelock, based on the Broughton Hall Business Park in Skipton.
Last year the company introduced its first ever Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards to coincide with 25 years in business. They proved so popular that they have become an annual event.
Kathryn Broadburn of F Smales and Sons receives her award from Rachel Coote
The Awards recognise the achievement of students who have undertaken courses with the company in the previous year. There are five awards in total: HACCP Student of the Year, Food Safety Student of the Year, Auditing Student of the Year, Individual Excellence Award and Company of the Year.
This year’s winners were from a variety of different companies. The Auditing Student of the Year was won by Kathryn Broadburn, a Technical Manager at Grimsby-based fish merchants, F Smales & Sons. Verner Wheelock MD, Alison Wheelock, said, “Auditing is an essential element of the food manufacturing process, especially for completion of a successful BRC audit, and in light of the emphasis on combatting food fraud throughout the supply chain. Kathryn was an exceptional student on our FDQ Lead Auditor Certificate course and achieved the highest marks of the year in her examination.”
Winner of the Food Safety Student of the Year was Chris Shields from the Consett site of Symingtons which produces the ‘Look what we found’ and ilumi brands, amongst other products. “Symingtons were winners of the Verner Wheelock Company Excellence Award last year,” said Alison, “and we’re delighted to present Chris with the award for Food Safety Excellence this year. There was fierce competition for this award, so he has done particularly well.”
Tina Sayers of PAS Grantham with her HACCP Student of the Year Award
The HACCP Student of the Year award went to Tina Sayers, Technical Account Manager, of PAS Grantham Ltd, which is a subsidiary of frozen potato company McCain (GB) Limited. “Tina achieved a distinction in her RSPH Level 4 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing examination and showed a real aptitude for her subject.” Said Alison.
The winner of the Individual Excellence Award came from one of Verner Wheelock’s specialist courses, ‘Training the Trainer’. Successful completion of the course and examination enables delegates to provide training up to a stated level within their own companies, or to become a freelance trainer. The accolade this time went to Sharron Jacques, a Senior Catering Officer, at Harper Green Junior School in Bolton, Lancashire. She was nominated by course tutor, Judith Sunderland, who said: “Sharron’s enthusiasm was excellent and she gave the funniest micro-teach of the food handler from hell that I have seen.”
Anna Skirkowska and Chris Pinder of pladis Group accept their Company Excellence Award from Alison Wheelock
Last, but by no means least, is the winner of the Company Excellence Award. This was presented to Strategic Functional Development & Training Director, Anna Skirkowska, based at the Halifax site of the pladis Group (formerly United Biscuits). There are seven pladis sites in the UK, producing sweet and savoury biscuits and cakes, including McVities, Carr’s and Jacobs brands.
Anna said “We are thrilled to receive this award. We have been using Verner Wheelock to provide food industry training for our staff for nearly 20 years and the feedback we receive has always been very positive.”
Alison Wheelock added “We decided to present the award to pladis Group because we believe their commitment to food safety, and to training, is second to none. We’ve delivered several courses across the full spectrum of food safety, HACCP, auditing and specialist courses such as Root Cause Analysis, VACCP and TACCP and Managing Food Allergens, both here at our training centre in Skipton and across Pladis’ various sites. The delegates have all been enthusiastic and achieved good examination results.”