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What length of time is the 'norm' for training a new operative

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:42 PM



Could someone please tell me what length of time is the 'norm' for a new operative to have a training 'buddy' assigned for, how long initial training should be for?  We currently have a 'buddy' until the  operative is capable of doing the job by themselves but TFMS standards states that there should be a defined period of time.  I would think that this would differ depending on the job?  Would appreciate all info.



George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:32 PM

As with any training, the content, objectives and duration depend on various issues including:


1. Complexity and skill level required to complete the task

2. The risk associated with the task in regard to food safety

3. The risk associated with the task in regard to occupational health and safety

4. The individual capabilities of the person e.g. special support to assist skills and knowledge transfer


Training costs money and is an investment by the company in its human resources to produce a product which can be marketed profitably. It can be tempting to cut costs in training since the impact of this is not always immediately felt. 


In regard to training buddies, it is important to define the duration (and indeed other training requirement). This is usually based on a standard worker in standard conditions.  From there it should be reviewed by management and indeed the training buddy to determine if competence has been achieved. Training times can be reduced or extended as appropriate. Just keep a record of the review and include this in your policy. This is a reasonable approach since standard training buddy times do not guarantee competence. Only the review can determine this.



Mathieu Colmant

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 08:48 PM



My point of view is that "until the  operative is capable of doing the job by themselves" clearly define the length of the training. It also clearly define that this lenght can be adapted following the operatives and the job.

It is so defined in my documents, and was agreed by BRC auditors.


Mathieu Colmant


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Posted 20 September 2013 - 06:45 AM

I think the standard require the company to set-up exact time to supervise the new workers (on the job training) and at the end of this set period, the standard also required an evaluation/assessment of the staff competency.

Define length as "until the operative is capable of doing the job by themselves" seems to be too vague and might result forgetfulness of competency assessment.

Again, at the set point (ending period), if the staff found to be incompetency, these incompetent staff are subjected to re-train, re-supervise, and re-evaluate anyway.

The lenght might set up based on staff responsibility. For example, 1 months for non-CCP food handlers; 2 months for CCP workers and QC operators.

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 02:28 PM

I agree with the above.


The important thing is can the technician do the job properly without supervision?  Until then he/she is not trained.  If you set a week and they can't do the job by themselves then you would extend it.  If you already give a generous amount of time for learning the tasks and then they can't complete them on their own then you have to figure out why.  Maybe the trainer isn't a good teacher, maybe the trainee can't learn the material in that amount of time (or ever), maybe the materials they are using aren't sufficient, maybe the length of time is not long enough, and so on and so forth.


My last job I spent one month with each of the three other quality technicians to learn what they did every day and how to run all of the tests they typically did in that span of time.  Everyone was trained on all of the equipment so in that job I had 3 months of "training" but typically after watching the test two times and doing it supervised two times I was able to complete the tests properly.


Then after that I had to do ring testing against the other technicians to make sure my results were equivalent to theirs.  I picked up all of the tests quickly.  The previous technician did not and I heard about how it took longer to train him.


Every person is different, every job is different, you can't nail down a time frame off other people.  You have to figure that out on your own.


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