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Elaine Hankinson discusses the rising importance of online training for the food/dairy manufacturing industry

The current pandemic has highlighted the importance of online learning and has forced HR managers to think about how they approach food and hygiene training in general. With restaurants closing and a soaring rise in demand for domestic food products, many food manufacturers have needed to take on additional staff and with that came a requirement for basic food hygiene and health and safety training that could be delivered quickly and safely.

The quickest and most effective way to do this is via e-learning. New staff members need to be quickly trained in basic food safety before they can start on the shop floor and we realised the importance for our customers of being able to pick and choose exactly the right courses and access them with immediate effect.

Courses such as Food Safety and Hygiene, Hand Hygiene, Cleaning in the Food Industry, Managing Disinfection and Hygiene, HACCP and Health and Safety for Food Workers have been the most popular and can be easily managed via e-learning. According to information produced by, e-learning enables students to learn five times more material for every hour of training, making it all the more valuable for manufacturers who can often struggle with freeing up staff on production and hygiene work.

As well as excellent course content, e-learning needs to be easy and quick to administer so that the pressure is taken off HR and training managers. They want a system that will save them time, remove the need for manual training records, and one that will keep track in real time of every single employee’s training progress. In such a heavily-audited sector, it is essential that our customers can demonstrate their compliance level at the click of a mouse. This is something we have taken into consideration when choosing the right training partner, the best choice of courses to offer, and the right system to reduce their workload.

It is important that we offer a choice too, as we work with food manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. Smaller companies may select specific course titles from our catalogue and allocate them to particular employees; larger companies usually opt for an annual subscription where they will select around 30 course titles which they can allocate right across the whole workforce. We have extended our course offering and now have over a hundred different titles to choose from. This is in addition to our existing Moviemento package which offers the opportunity to tailor and personalize food safety modules, and to add company specific training resources.

According to, 58 per cent of British 16-24 year-olds were using online learning materials in 2019, but only 29 per cent in the 35-44 age bracket. Over the past few months, people of all ages and across all business sectors have become more comfortable in using technology and embraced various platforms of online communication, to hold meetings, to carry out their normal day-to-day work, which will encourage increased usage of learning online.

Many food manufacturers have also taken time during the current pandemic to review their workforce talent and have chosen to upskill some employees with more technical and detailed training courses. CFH has found that the best delivery method for this type of training is using a virtual classroom with an online tutor.

This provides both a safe and cost-effective option for more detailed coursework but also allows the opportunity to engage with other learners, share thoughts and ask questions. A virtual classroom is convenient and much more accessible but still offers a variety of presentation methods to enable the student to properly analyse and understand how the content relates to their own work situation.

“Despite the current Covid-19 lockdown it is still important that we invest in training and developing our colleagues,” commented Liz Shaw, Quality Systems Manager at First Milk. “Christeyns Food Hygiene delivered HACCP training quickly and efficiently, with e-learning for our production team and via Microsoft Teams for the management group.”

Virtual classrooms with live, tutor-led training will open the door for many companies to utilize training options whereas previously it may have been a struggle. Throughout 2019 I travelled the length and breadth of the country, meeting CFH customers to talk through their training challenges and looking for the right solutions and better ways to support our customers. The unforeseen development of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant we have increased our efforts to ensure that our training offer suits customer’s needs, for now and for the future. And as we move forward, we expect e-learning and virtual classrooms to become the norm. We certainly plan to continue to deliver our training this way.

Having had the opportunity to discuss specific needs and training challenges with our customers, we have adapted our whole training package to offer a very comprehensive catalogue of food manufacturing related e-learning courseware and virtual training, with the aim of not only helping our customers to train individual employees, but to create a food safety culture.

Elaine Hankinson is Training BDM Manager at Christeyns Food Hygiene. Since Klenzan was founded in late 1989 by John Bell, the company has built upon his vision of a hygiene support company that provides service excellence, value for money and technical expertise across the food, beverage and dairy industries. Joining the Christeyns UK group in 2017 and rebranding as Christeyns Food Hygiene, the firm has become one of the leading partners in the UK and Ireland to brand names concerned with delivering the best results in their hygiene operations.

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