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First sector-specific food-safety training.

New food-safety qualifications just launched are the first widely-available awards that have been tailor-made for people working in food and drink manufacturing.

Offered by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (RSPH), the qualifications have been devised following an initiative by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council.

"It is extraordinary that until now there have been so few food-safety qualifications specifically for manufacturing widely available," said Derek Williams, development director at Improve. "Existing food-safety qualifications were often tailored more towards those working in the catering and service industries, and didn't meet manufacturing needs.

"The new qualifications are more relevant as they're based upon the new Food Safety National Occupational Standards, which Improve developed after consultation with food and drink manufacturing employers.

"They offer flexible learning opportunities and, while they are standalone qualifications, they can also contribute to achievement of food safety modules of more extensive qualifications like NVQs and SVQs. By offering greater relevance and flexibility, we're confident take-up on the new courses will be high, helping to boost productivity through a more highly-skilled workforce."

Improve worked with qualifications awarding bodies to agree a set of common learning outcomes that would deliver relevant knowledge specifically for food and drink manufacturing. The awarding bodies have then designed new food-safety qualifications based upon these outcomes, with those from the RSPH being the first to be accredited. Dr Richard Burton from RSPH explained: "We're pleased to be working with Improve and other awarding bodies to make food safety qualifications more widely available and ensure they're relevant for employers. The new qualifications from RSPH are available at three levels--level two, which delivers operational knowledge, level three, in food safety supervision, and level four, in food safety management. The level two award replaces our Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene, which was geared towards manufacturing."

The qualifications will make it easier for employers to meet their responsibilities under the new European Union Food Safety regulations, which came into effect at the start of 2006. They are also relevant for general manufacturing employees who may have to spend time working in a food and drink environment.

In addition to the RSPH, Improve worked with six other awarding bodies --ASET, The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, City and Guilds, Food and Drink Qualifications, The Royal Institute of Public Health, and the Scottish Qualification Authority. The work has been carried out with the support and guidance of the Food Standards Agency. Other awarding bodies are expected to have their versions of the new food safety qualifications accredited before the end of the year.

Contact Improve Ltd on tel: 0845 644 0448 or visit www.improveltd.co.uk
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Title Annotation:INFORMALIA
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:441
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