There are some subjects or topics that just make your eyes want to close and your head roll back as you go to sleep. For some of us the whole thought of someone standing up in front of you, and a class, and talking about something like accounting or the lifecycle of a specific insect is enough to make us visit sleepy world.
To many, even the words "food safety" have exactly the same effect.
Food safety is really just the things that a business or group does to make sure that the people eating that food do not get sick. Training of staff (both paid and unpaid) is a key part of it.Food safety after all is only as good as the staff and making sure that they are properly trained is essential.
Like all training, food safety training can be the most boring thing that a person has ever done, or it can be an entertaining and enjoyable learning experience.
It is all about the trainer.
I was visiting someone in an aged care centre a few years ago and heard over the public annoucement system that the annual food safety training was to start at 3pm in the blue room. Being that I am a food safety trainer, I could not help myself but had to go and have a little look at how the training was going. I was horrified to see that half the attendees were either dozing in the hot packed room or were busy playing with their phones. The trainer was standing facing the Powerpoint display on the front wall and speaking in a slow and steady voice.
It was without doubt the worst training session I have ever seen and you could guarantee that the attendees thought so too. The problem is that each one of them was now tainted with thinking that food safety and it's training is the most boring thing in the world.
We can't always chose the room we train in but we as trainers must make the experience something that people enjoy. If we haven't done that, we haven't done our job.
There are businesses out there that do their own in house food safety training and that is fine if the trainer actually cares about food safety. If it is just another one of those things that need to be done, it will not be successfu and the staff will hate being there. What chance is there that they will actually learn anything?
I have several long term clients that have me as their food safety trainer. With one of them I have been a part of their family for nearly 10 years. The staff have a good knowledge of food safety, so how do I keep them interested and get the client to want me to keep coming back?
I am passionate about both food safety and sustainability and that passion comes through when I am running training. If your trainer (whether internal or external) is not passionate about whatever their subject is, replace them as they will not bring that to the training.
I realised that to keep the staff interested I had to do something new every year. So I make the session fun by getting the staff to play a game. I have developed a series of food safety games and I pick a different one to take along each year. The competition and chocolate prize reinforces the food safety training.
These agmes are avaialble for purchase from the estore on my website as I knew that some businesses may not be able to get me or another professional trainer in to do their food safety training but they could still make it fun for their staff.
Training works best if people enjoy themselves, so find a way to make it fun. Training, even internal, is an expense to the business and just like all costs there needs to be some reasonable return. If the staff hate going, they won't learn and the investment in time and labour costs is a waste.
This the important (and often not considered) fact of training, ensure that you get a return on the investment.