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Recommendation on courses to be a food safety advisor/manager


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#1 Janset

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 05:14 PM

Hello everyone,

I am a food engineer and work as a food safety consultant (self-employed) in London, UK. I can give food safety certificates level 1, 2, 3, prepare SFBB pack, train the staff, give information when regulation changes or the new one comes, etc. just for restaurants, cafes, shops, etc.

Recently I was thinking to work as a food safety advisor/manager, quality manager, etc. for a company in London. Before applying jobs, I want to have some certificates, but unfortunately it is really expensive. Online certificates (HACCP level4, internal/external audit) are really cheaper, but I don’t know these online certificates are acceptable and helpful to find a job. What kind of certificates will help me to find a good job? Could you recommend online or in class courses to have these certificates in London, please?

Thank you in advance for all your help.



#2 zanorias

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 05:46 PM

Hi Janset,

 

I imagine if you're joining a food company in London they will be accredited under a scheme so it could be worthwhile investing in that area. I'm relatively new to the industry myself so I'd see what others say who have probably been in a position to hire someone such as yourself, though I know that my Technical Manager spends a significant amount of time on BRC so a replacement would need to have sufficient knowledge/experience in that. Even recruiting QAs we would prefer one who has some knowledge of BRC.

 

p.s. :welcome: to the forum


Edited by zanorias, 13 April 2019 - 05:47 PM.


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#3 Janset

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 06:37 PM

Hi Janset,

 

I imagine if you're joining a food company in London they will be accredited under a scheme so it could be worthwhile investing in that area. I'm relatively new to the industry myself so I'd see what others say who have probably been in a position to hire someone such as yourself, though I know that my Technical Manager spends a significant amount of time on BRC so a replacement would need to have sufficient knowledge/experience in that. Even recruiting QAs we would prefer one who has some knowledge of BRC.

 

p.s. :welcome: to the forum

Thank you so much Zanorias  :smile:



#4 EagleEye

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 06:15 AM

Hi Janset,

In my experience, Online certificates are not preferable over class courses certificates. Factors like course hours, syllabus and certification body may also be considered in decision making process if you are competing with multiple candidates..



#5 zanorias

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 08:42 AM

I appreciate class courses are preferable, but what about that option isn't feasible for financial/time or other reasons. Would people agree that an online course & certificate is still worthwhile over nothing, or would it not be worth doing? 

 

I'd like to do a Food Safety level 4 course, though my work won't cover it as I'm technically a QA and they deem level 3 sufficientfor that role. Still, I'd like to progress in the field and get the level 4 so will have to fund it myself. Even the online course is expensive for me personally but cheaper than class and I wouldn't need to take time off work. However if the online certification wouldn't be valued by employers then I'd question the value of doing it.

 

Could there be added value though in employability terms of someone such as Janset or myself having taken on an online course in personal time/funds - could that show an intuition and commitment to the field potentially over another candidate who has that qualification but because their previous employer put them on the course?

Genuinely interested to hear the thoughts of employers on this



#6 pHruit

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:44 AM

Hi Janset,
Do you have any direct experience of BRC (or equivalent)?
Last time I hired a QA manager, I definitely wanted someone who had at least some experience of BRC, as otherwise it becomes difficult to delegate enough work to make my life as technical manager feasible without working 7 days weeks.

It sounds like you have a good range of experience with food in general, so based on what you've said so far you'd be a very appealing candidate for a QA role, albeit perhaps not direct into management. Again given what you've said about your background, you should progress from there fairly quickly up towards QA manager type roles once you've got a bit more direct experience under your belt. If you'd rather aim directly for management-level roles, I'd suggest targeting smaller companies, as the bigger ones probably won't even bother to consider you unless you tick whatever predetermined boxes they've set. (Your CV probably wouldn't have made it onto my desk for the QA manager position - whether that's right is another question, but it's one of the unfortunate realities of trying to recruit when agents throw large numbers of CVs at you...)

 

In terms of courses:

1) Call your local Environmental Health Department. They may well offer classroom-based courses in some relevant areas, at a vastly lower price than the commercial training providers.

2) If a candidate had taken online courses then I'd certainly appreciate that this was a very positive sign, and would save me some money (I potentially don't then have to use my training budget on these ;) ). What I would say is shop around and check what each course/provider actually gives you at the end of it - many of these offer an online "exam" at the end of the course, but some will also send a proper exam paper for you to complete and return, and this gets you a proper accredited certificate. There may be a small surcharge for this, but it is the option that you want to take wherever you can.

You may need to have a chat with them about how this will work in practice, as they're generally set up on the expectation that you're already employed and your boss or similar can act as invigilator while you sit the exam.

 

In terms of the types of courses:
HACCP - doesn't need to be Level 4 (although looks good if you do have it!), so if you can save yourself a bit of time/money by doing so then Level 3 is reasonable.

Auditing - Value is limited without experience, but an introductory internal auditing course is still a good idea, IMO.

Food Hygiene - you may well have it already, but if not then do Level 3 / Level 4. (This is definitely one to check with your local EHO - several run subsidised courses).

What's your educational background? I place a high value on people who've got a decent grasp of basic biology/chemistry, so if you don't have much in this area then you could check out some of the bigger labs and training providers, as many run "microbiology for food" type courses that will at least give you a demonstrable starting point there. The relevance of chemistry will depend on which area(s) of the industry you're looking at, but IMO all QA people should have some level of understanding of microbiology.  

 

Hope that doesn't all sound too negative; just my experiences of hiring people. Depending on the level you're going in at, you may effectively be competing with relatively recent graduates and the experience you have so far should therefore stand you in fairly good stead.

 

Hope that doesn't all sound too negative






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