The Value of Training

The Value of Training

Why do SO MANY cafe owners and restaurant managers ALWAYS want to discount the value of training?

How can I get it cheaper, can you make it shorter, does EVERYONE really have to do it….and on it goes.

One of the most common questions I am asked is “Do my staff have to have a food handling certificate?” From a legislative point of view, there is NO regulation that states staff must attend a formal food safety-training course…however the FSANZ Food Standards Code (3.2.2 Div. 2, Section 3) states:

“A food business must ensure that persons undertaking or supervising food handling operations have:

(a) Skills in food safety and food hygiene matters; and

(b) Knowledge of food safety and food hygiene matters.

commensurate with their work activities.”

It does not state that they must attend a food handling course….however if they do not attend a sufficiently detailed course, how will they know and understand all of the different food safety hazards. In a meeting I recently had, the Human Resources Manager of a well known establishment was trying to arrange the training… because he had to. Not because he saw any benefit in the training, but because he “had” to.

When we deliver a Level 1: Food Hygiene course, we take six hours to explain the basics that we feel every food employee must know. Only six hours!

Think about how long you had to “learn” how to drive a car and the courses/ lessons involved.

What about the courses that people attend to see how to use their smart phones or tablet devices?

You can’t even serve an alcoholic beverage in most states of Australia, without having an RSA certificate, yet the law allows anyone to make your sandwich, muffin or coffee!

In my opinion, the basic information needed to handle food safely is far more important than the other training indicated above, yet most food business operators are prepared to risk far more than consider the cost of the training.

That is why it surprised me when the HR Manager was querying how we could “do it quicker” and “can we make it simpler”…

Simpler...what was he asking? What are we going to remove? The importance of hand washing? The temperature Danger Zone? Why we complete monitoring records? Yes I understand that the cost of training can be considerable and yes he had more than 500 people to train and this takes significant cost and organisation, but what would happen if just one of those employees did something wrong and the offences publicised?

I know that in Victoria and New South Wales, the state regulators of food safety list all food businesses that have been issued with penalty notices and prosecutions. In Queensland, they have the “scores on doors” requirements where each store must display their hygiene rating.

What we constantly hear is “Yeah Gavin, I understand what you are telling me…it is just COMMON sense”. Well come and spend a couple of days with me and you will realise that common sense is not all that “common”. Things like hands not washed, wrong chopping boards being used, not sanitising food contact surfaces and food products stored on floor are things I see every day.

James Grima (from Positive Training Solutions) has told me that in the Australian Food Retail Sector that 1 in 4 staff have been in their current job for less than 12 months. So remember the training that you develop should be ongoing, and not just a once off. Check out James’ excellent video below (more than 258,000 others have).

The Gourmet Guardian have also prepared a 97 Point Checklist on what they believe should be covered in a Level 1: Food Hygiene Course or for you, a new employees induction. These are all important points. Getting one wrong could cost you thousands of dollars. Download it now and see how many of the points are covered in your current induction training.

Eat well. Eat safe!

Gavin Buckett
Managing Director
Prime Skills Pty Ltd
P: 1300 EAT SAFE (1300 328 723)

P.S. Those food businesses in NSW that have had a Food Safety Supervisor trained in 2010 will need to update their qualifications within 5 years of the certificate being issued. We can assist you with updating this qualification.