June 21, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Food Safety Trainer

As a food safety trainer for Carlton Training everyday is different and there isn’t a “typical” day. My role means that I can be running a food safety or food hygiene class in our Central London training centre one day, travelling to a rural “country house” hotel the next day to provide staff training and the day after that teaching in a large food distribution company’s premises on the outskirts of a big city.


The contrasts between the different places are great. However, they all have one thing in common in that they all need the basic food hygiene training to help them comply with food safety legislation.

Before setting off for work I need to check the venue address and make sure I have a contact name and telephone number. Some of the clients of Carlton Training Limited have security systems that mean I need to allow additional time to get through their identity requirements before I can get to the training room and set up ready to start the food safety class. Remembering to bring my passport or driving licence is essential otherwise the training cannot take place.

7.15 am on the day of course: after a quick breakfast at home (prepared safely of course in accordance with the good practice I teach!) I am off on the way to the venue. Pressing through the rush of commuters, I feel slightly smug that I’m not chained to a desk everyday doing the same thing; I’m off somewhere new to meet new catering staff to train!

8.15 am: no wrong turns make this a result for me as the hotel looms into sight. At the front desk I introduce myself. I sign in and show my ID, then I’m issued with a visitor pass which lets me into staff only areas , then before I can blink a porter takes my equipment bag and is ready to guide me to the training room.

8.30 am: I’m now set up and ready to teach in the training room, which is actually a dedicated conference / meeting room.

8.40 am: the Catering Manager arrives and introduces himself. Formally chef at a big-name London restaurant , and before that an NCO in the Army Catering Corps training base I can tell at once that this is a true professional who operates to the very highest standards. Despite this he is going to attend the food hygiene course, his own food safety certificate was gained some years ago and he is keen to be as up to date as the rest of his team.

8.55 am: as breakfast for the hotel guests is almost over the catering staff now arrive fresh from the “front line” of catering ready for the food hygiene course. We have the Shift Supervisor who along with her deputy previously ran their own café, two Speciality Chefs who deal almost exclusively with events that the hotel puts on, weddings, parties, conferences etc. The catering team also includes other chefs and supervisors, most of whom have previous food safety training along with some recently recruited kitchen porters who have not, so it is a mixed bunch.

We begin the food and hygiene course and as the tutor I ensure that everyone in the class has the opportunity to make contributions and that we cover everything on the syllabus. I also make sure that I tailor the learning so that none of the candidates can dominate the lesson because of their status in the organisation – this isn’t a problem here as everybody gets on well and contributes with questions and examples.

12.30 pm: We break for lunch. Having enjoyed an almost constant supply of tea, coffee and biscuits during the morning, I skip out for a snack and a walk round one of London’s Royal Parks.

1.00 pm: Back to the food safety training for the afternoon session. As everybody has to take the multiple choice exam at the end of the day I make sure we get plenty of practice in by running multiple choice tests during the afternoon, this is usually great fun. One of the ways I do this is by splitting the class into teams and encouraging the teams to discuss their answers.

3.45 pm: Exam time – I seat the candidates so that they cannot see each other’s work, then we formally announce the start of the food hygiene exam and open the sealed exam papers. Silence is the rule as these are exam conditions!

4.30 pm: The exam is over, I collect the papers from candidates and seal them. Candidates are relived and we pack up, many of them coming up to me to say how they enjoyed the course. This is the best bit of the job, seeing candidates who have benefited from food safety training and enjoyed the course.

5.00 pm: back out into the wide world and I take the chance to get back to head office to drop off the exam papers and give tomorrow’s course the once-over.

5.30 pm: I’m on my way home, dodging the temptation of a snack on the way ! A quick scan of social media for what my friends have been up to.

6.15 pm: Home ! hurray ! The working day is over and I can now relax.

My work involves meeting people and helping them get qualified or even re-qualified in food safety, so I get the chance not only to see different places but also to help people comply with the legislation. This goes right from the head chef to the junior kitchen hand.


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