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5 easy rules for an effective HACCP plan

Follow these 5 simple rules for effective HACCP plans

Formulating an effective HACCP plan can be time consuming, but it is ultimately worth the effort for the peace of mind that you are producing products that are free of contaminants and safe to eat.

At Verner Wheelock we offer a number of HACCP training courses at varying levels to guide you through the various challenges you will face. However there are a few simple rules you should always follow, no matter what size or type your manufacturing facility might be.

1. Make sure you have suitable prerequisites in place

HACCP Plan CleanlinessBefore you can even consider developing and implementing a HACCP plan, you need to ensure that you have effective prerequisites in place. That means pest control, cleaning programmes, waste control, operator training, employee personal hygiene and the use of PPC as well as other considerations such as programmes of preventative maintenance.

Regular calibration is also essential if your HACCP plan is to succeed. Many critical control points rely on the accuracy of meters, gauges, thermometers, pH meters, scales, metal detectors, timing devices and pressure gauges; and because tolerances are often minute, even a slight inaccuracy can compromise the safety of food being produced.

2. HACCP is about safety not quality

One of the first things to remember about HACCP is that it concerns the safety of food, not the quality. A product may not look pretty or be made with the highest quality ingredients, but that doesn’t matter within a HACCP plan.

Critical control points ccpThe most effective HACCP plans take a holistic view and identify any possible hazards – microbial, chemical or physical –then determine which of those constitute Critical Control Points (CCPs). A CCP is defined as a step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. For example, heating to a defined temperature for a defined amount of time.

3. Make plans as simple as possible

As they say in marketing, you should always aim to KISS – Keep It Short and Simple. The same goes for your HACCP plan. The more complex it is, the more difficult it will be to control. Therefore, you should try to limit the number of control points to those that are genuinely critical.

For instance, there’s no need to spend time monitoring for potential bacteria at an earlier stage in the process if a final heating stage will kill all pathogens within a product. It’s the final heating stage that counts.

4. Keep HACCP plans current

It’s really imperative that HACCP plans are kept up-to-date. Any change made that is a deviation from the norm, even if it appears to be insignificant, needs to be noted and a risk assessment should also be undertaken. The plan should be a working document that reflects any updates or amendments.

Even something as apparently simple as a product line change or a recipe reformulation can affect the safety of food if the correct controls aren’t in place for that particular product. Good examples include reducing the level of sugar in a product. Removing sugar might mean that your existing heating conditions are not severe enough to destroy some pathogens.

With the pressure on to provide foods with reduced sugar, fat, salt and additives this type of occurrence is a real threat. so it pays to be vigilant.

haccp abbreviation on puzzles5. Use separate HACCP plans for each product line

Finally, there is no simple ‘one size fits all’ HACCP plan that you can buy off the shelf. Each company is different and each product line within that company is different and they have different recipes and different equipment.

It’s therefore important that separate plans are formulated for each line by a dedicated HACCP team. You wouldn’t buy a set of dentures unless they had been designed specifically for you, so you need to make sure that the HACCP plan you formulate is a perfect fit too.

Why not check out our training calendar for details of our forthcoming HACCP courses?

Here is a breakdown of the HACCP courses we offer






Campylobacter, E-coli and salmonella – everybody’s heard of them and knows that they’re the bacteria responsible for many food poisoning outbreaks. Staphylococcus aureus is not one that readily trips off the tongue and yet it’s actually classed as a superbug.

If this unpleasant critter gets into your bloodstream you’ll be seriously ill and could even die. As with all serious infections, there are different strains. The most virulent strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is one we’ve all heard of: MRSA. This stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. MRSA is particularly difficult to treat because it’s resistant to many antibiotics.

It’s also really quite easy to contaminate food with Staphylococcus aureus. It occurs naturally on the skin and in the nose of around one-third of all human beings. It can live quite happily on the skin, but if it is allowed to transfer to food, it’s a very different story. That’s why anybody working within the food industry needs to be aware of its presence and how contamination can be prevented.

Which foods are most likely to be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus?

pilons de pouletThere are certain types of food that are more susceptible to Staphylococcus aureus contamination than others. These are typically high protein products. Cooked poultry, seafood and egg products can either be handled during preparation or stored at the wrong temperature before consumption. Foods made by hand contact which don’t require any additional cooking are also at risk.

Other examples include cream-filled bakery products. They’re handled whilst the cream in inserted. Another interesting fact about Staphylococcus aureus is that it’s less likely to be found on raw products where several other organisms are present. Because bakery products tend to have a higher sugar content, this inhibits the growth of other organisms, allowing Staphylococcus aureus bacteria to thrive.

Warm temperatures help Staphylococcus aureus to multiply rapidly, so for this reason dry pasta has also been the source of some outbreaks. Additionally, the extrusion equipment used to produce the pasta is difficult to clean creating an ideal environment for the bug.

How to control Staphylococcus aureus

The primary control measures to inhibit the presence and growth potential of Staphylococcus are time and temperature. (You can find out all about this on our Level 3 Food Safety course). However once the bacteria has entered the food and begun to multiply it is practically impossible to eliminate, even by heating to temperatures of over 121°C for several minutes.

Washing Hands with SoapProduct formulation can also guard against growth of the bacteria. However, since the primary source is staff, personal hygiene is incredibly important in any prevention programme.

How you can help prevent Staphylococcus aureus toxins from forming in food

  • Wash hands and under fingernails vigorously with soap and water before handling and preparing food.
  • Do not prepare food if you have a nose or eye infection.
  • Do not prepare or serve food for others if you have wounds or skin infections on your hands or wrists – this is how Staphylococcus aureus can enter the bloodstream
  • Keep kitchens and food-serving areas clean and sanitised.
  • If food is prepared more than two hours before serving, keep hot foods hot (over 60° C) and cold foods cold (5°C or under).
  • Store cooked food in a wide, shallow container and refrigerate as soon as possible

Typical symptoms and onset period

The average time for someone to experience food poisoning symptoms after consumption of food containing the Staphylococcus aureus toxin is 2 to 4 hours, although it can be as soon as 30 minutes or up to 7 hours. In normal cases it takes 48 hours to recover. Common symptoms transmitted via food are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

As ever, effective preventative measures are essential to ensure that your products remain safe for people to enjoy. Here is more information on our range of food safety courses.

HACCP obesity crisis

The chance of being seriously affected by Covid-19 increases with obesity or being overweight, according to experts. Studies have shown that 36% of adults in England are currently defined as overweight, whereas 28% were classified as obese.

Body fat contains high levels of an enzyme called ACE2 to which the coronavirus can attach itself, giving it access to cells. This can have a direct impact on blood, immunity, inflammation and especially respiratory function.

Obesity prevention measures
To raise awareness of these issues and attempt to tackle obesity, the Government this week announced a crackdown. This involves providing calorie information on menus for restaurants with over 250 staff. It also includes a proposed ban on bulk buy offers on fizzy drinks and foods with a high fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) content. Television advertisements for ‘junk food’ are to be banned before 9pm to discourage children from wanting highly calorific products

This initiative to reduce consumption of sugar, fat and salt is nothing new. We have been told that obesity costs the NHS in excess of £4.2 billion. Steps have already been taken by food manufacturers to reduce fat, salt and sugar in their products. For example, Pladis has previously reduced sugar by 9% and salt by 5% in its McVities Digestive biscuit. This was achieved over a period of time to ensure that there was no compromise on taste or texture.

Product reformulations
The reformulation of products is not something that can be achieved overnight. As well as the palatability factor, there is also the aspect of food safety to consider. Sodium (salt) and sugar are both food preservatives. They help to reduce the growth of pathogens and spoilage bacteria by reducing the water activity in foods. This is turn extends the shelf life of the products.

Fat in foods has a huge impact on flavour, so reducing the fat in, say, a yogurt, means that in order to make it as tasty, you need to substitute something else. This is often sugar or a sugar substitute.

Reduced sugar, fat or salt – increased food safety risk?
Of course, swapping out ingredients in the recipe for a popular product means that you will need to assess the food safety risks. Will the substituted ingredient perform as well to inhibit the growth of bacteria? What are the new critical control points and critical limits to ensure that the product is safe? How will the shelf life of the newly-formulated product be affected?

It’s worth remembering that the largest ever outbreak of food-borne Clostridium Botulinum in the UK, was caused by reducing the sugar content in a product. The hazelnut puree used in several brands of hazelnut yogurt had reduced sugar by substituting with saccharin. However, it had been under processed, allowing the bacterium to grow within the product.

HACCP knowledge is essential
It is imperative that HACCP plans are reviewed whenever any change takes place. This could be changes to ingredients, changes of equipment, or changes to process. Reviewing HACCP plans means that any potential food safety risk can be identified, and the appropriate preventive action taken.

Any product reformulation requires a new HACCP plan to be produced. Make sure that the relevant people in your company are trained in how to produce, verify and validate a HACCP plan. Or if it’s at least 3 years since your staff took their HACCP qualifications, a one-day HACCP Refresher course will keep them up-to-date.

Scottish Highlands Challenge Update

Sam's Scottish Highland Challenge

Our amazing work colleague and friend, Sam Day, completed her 5-day Scottish Highlands Challenge last weekend. To say we are blown away by what she has achieved is an understatement! She has beaten breast cancer and raised £4200 for the CoppaFeel charity.

A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Sam by donating money or gifts, or both. She raised over £1500 of her total by holding a Family Fun Day at a local football club HQ and was overwhelmed by how many people came along.

We thought you might like to hear all about the trek, so who better to tell you than Sam herself:

My Scottish Highlands Challenge

“My CoppaFeel! Scottish Highlands Challenge – Trying to put into words what the past week has been like is hard, as no words do it justice! It was awesome, amazing, inspiring, joyful, tough, heart-warming, breath-taking and more all rolled into one!I left the comfort of my home and the security blanket of my family behind and set off on an adventure which would push me completely out of my comfort zone, not knowing what to expect or how the week would go. But, I have come home a week later with 25 incredible ladies in my life, memories that will last a lifetime and a self-belief that I can do anything I set my mind to!

The campsite was breathtakingly remote and soon became our ‘home’ – however I did miss my bed and there were grass cuttings everywhere! Each trek had its own challenges but the feeling when we got to the top was immense ( I was high on life and fresh air) and we smashed each one of them together.

The Charity Challenge Trek Leaders (Ian, Duncan, Tania and Andy) were incredible, they guided us up the paths (and off course sometimes) with encouragement and belief. We could not have done it without them and they soon became a huge part of Team Gemma! The CoppaFeel ladies (Ellie, Nat & Gi) were incredibly supportive and it was an honour to meet them. I will always be thankful for this opportunity and what they do to raise awareness of BC in young people is inspiring!

Team Gemma

We were all split into teams and I was in a team led by a lovely lady called Gemma. This is where I find it hard to explain. The bond we have, the connections we’ve made, only we know what the past week has truly been like and the journey we have been on. Each one of us had our own personal reason for signing up to the trek and our own personal goals but we did it as a team, helping each other, supporting one another. We shared stories, we laughed, we sang (A LOT), we cheered, we whooped, we squatted together for a wild wee and we celebrated!

“One of the Best Experiences of my Life”

I can honestly say this has been one of the best experiences of my life and I will be forever thankful to CoppaFeel for picking me and letting me be part of something so unique. And also knowing we have collectively raised over £330,000 in donations is incredible! Thank you to everyone who donated and helped me raise over 4k! And thank you all for your support and for following my journey. Sam xx

Are you ready for Natasha’s Law?

Natasha's Law pre-packed for direct sale food

Many people will remember the unfortunate story of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse; the teenager who died following an allergic reaction to a sandwich containing sesame. The sandwich was pre-packed but did not contain an ingredients label or allergy messaging. This type of labelling was not mandatory at the time but, following her death, her parents strived to get the law changed, so that others with food allergies have confidence in the foods they buy and do not suffer the same fate.

As a result of their campaigning, The UK Food Information Amendment 2019 (or Natasha’s Law, as it is commonly known) comes into force on 1st October 2021. This means that all food that is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) will have to carry labelling stating the name of the product and a full ingredients list with allergens highlighted.

New Natasha’s Law online course

To help businesses understand the requirements of the new law and to whom it applies, we are launching an online Natasha’s Law course in September. This will cover the following:

  • What is Natasha’s Law?
  • Background information about allergens
  • Labelling controls for the 14 allergens recognised by law
  • The different ways food can be packaged and presented to the consumer
  • Definition of Pre-packed for Direct Sale Food
  • Using the Pre-packed for Direct Sale decision tree
  • The requirements for businesses to comply with the new legislation

The course is video-based and is presented by an experienced food allergens trainer with many years’ food industry experience. It features a blend of video, interactive assessments and fact-checking throughout to ensure the retention of information. There are no entry requirements, but a basic knowledge of food safety would be beneficial.

Who will the new law apply to?

Our Natasha’s Law course will appeal to bakers and confectioners, farm shop staff, butchers, cafes, sandwich shops, stallholders, charity event organisers, mobile caterers, small retailers and any other businesses packaging and selling food from the same premises. We will be notifying all our customers once the course has launched, but in the meantime if you would like to register your interest, please contact Claire Lennon on 01756 700802 or email claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk

It’s probably the best-kept secret at Verner Wheelock – but only because she wanted it that way…. Whilst we were all feeling sorry for ourselves because we couldn’t go out for a drink or see our friends and family during lockdown, a much-loved member of our team had far more serious things to worry about. Sam Day, our Ethical Audit Co-ordinator had breast cancer.

The news came as a huge shock to everybody, including Sam herself. But in true Sam fashion, she just got on with it. She barely missed a day’s work, donning an assortment of headscarves as she began to lose her lovely glossy hair. We didn’t hear her complain, even though there were times when she was tired, in pain and dealing with the day-to-day of being a busy working mum to twins.

Sam’s next challenge

Sam has shown incredible strength and been an absolute trouper throughout. Now that she has completed her treatment, she is taking on another challenge – a gruelling 5-day trek along the Rob Roy Way in the Scottish Highlands for the charity CoppaFeel. CoppaFeel’s goal is to give everybody the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer by raising awareness and getting the message out there to check your breasts (or pecs if you’re male).

We would love it if you could help Sam to reach her fundraising target of £2,250 before the end of July. If you would like to donate, please visit Sam’s fundraising page https://coppafeel.enthuse.com/pf/sam-day-03f2c

Thank you so much! Sam’s story is below

Sam’s story – in her own words

Samantha Day

About me

I am a 37 year old northern lass and mum to 7 year-old twins. I would describe myself as a family girl who loves a boogie. My go-to drink would be a cup of Yorkshire Tea but I do love a glass of rose wine.    

In April of 2020, during the first lockdown, I found a lump under my right armpit whilst playing with the kids. It felt tight and once I noticed that, I felt around and felt the second lump at the top of my right breast.  I was 36 at the time and didn’t really think much of it, but knew it was best to get it checked. 

Because of Covid I had to make a telephone appointment with a GP. She was lovely and referred me straight away for a mammogram. The following week, I had an ultrasound and a mammogram which showed the lumps and a biopsy was taken from each one. I was told there was a possibility it could be cancer but I would have to wait until the results came back, so an appointment was made for the following week.

My diagnosis

The following Monday my mum came with me to my appointment where I was told I had stage 2, grade 3 triple negative breast cancer. This meant that the cancer had spread to a number of lymph nodes under my arm, but I would need a full CT Scan to make sure it hadn’t spread any further. Thankfully it hadn’t! The next week was a whirlwind of appointments to prepare me for treatment, including a CT Scan, X-ray, the fitting of a picc line and a number of blood tests – one to check if I had the BRCA gene (inherited) which came back negative. I was just unlucky.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered an aggressive type of cancer because it grows quickly. It’s more likely to have spread at the time it’s found and is more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer. If not caught early, the outlook is generally not as good as it is for other types of breast cancer.

Stage 2 TNBC –  Around 90 out of 100 women (around 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

My treatment

My first chemo started the week after my diagnosis on the 5th May, 2.5 weeks since I found my lump. I was to have 6 sessions of chemotherapy which would be given through a picc line and I had to visit the hospital every week to get my picc line flushed and have bloods taken. The prospect of losing my hair was hard so I tried the cool cap which is a procedure which reduces blood flow to the scalp, which in turn reduced the amount of chemo from reaching that area. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me and I was losing a lot of hair daily, so in the end I asked my partner to shave it off. Losing my hair was probably the hardest part of it all.

Chemo finished on the 18th August and I was booked in to have my operation in September. As the chemotherapy had been effective and shrunk my cancer I was able to keep my boob and just have the remaining cancer and lymph nodes removed.

Radiotherapy started in November and I had to go to hospital every day (Mon-Fri) for 4 weeks but was finished in time for Christmas and the start of a new year!

My experience

Overall, I remained positive throughout my treatment. As we were all shielding due to Covid, I didn’t want my children to be affected by what I was going through. Yes, I had a couple of wobbles and didn’t feel 100% for a couple of days after chemo, but I continued to work and tried to carry on as normal. Losing my hair was tough and my daughter found it hard to see me without my hair. Thankfully, it started to grow back quickly and she was able to see the mummy she recognised again.

Having a great support network around me helped massively. My partner, my family, my work family and close friends were all amazing!

The challenge

Sam's CoppaFeel challenge

I wanted to do a challenge before the 1st anniversary of my final radiotherapy on 15th December 2020 – The day I rang the bell! So when my sister told me about CoppaFeel’s ‘Come Fly with Gi’ challenge, I thought why not?! I want a challenge that will push me and to prove to myself that I am over cancer and the treatment so I can put it behind me and move on both physically and mentally.

A group of us (80-100) will be trekking the Scottish highlands over 5 days and camping out at a base camp away from it all.

It will be tough and some days we will be walking up to 9 hours, others we will be hiking up a 1500m ascent.

The charity

CoppaFeel was founded in 2009 by Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister Maren after Kristin was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23! Secondary breast cancer is when the primary breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body which can be treated but can not be cured.  CoppaFeel’s goal is to give everybody the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer by raising awareness and getting the message out there to check your boobs with step by step guidance on how to check, what to look out for and also with monthly reminders to cop a feel!  

My plea

I didn’t check my boobs regularly and found the lump by total coincidence as it felt tight one day when I lifted my arm up high. I am so thankful I got it checked, as if I had left it much longer the outcome could have been much more different. I want to help raise awareness and money for a charity with such an important message! Cancer doesn’t discriminate and we are all vulnerable so let’s stop it early and help save lives!

If you can spare a couple of pounds to donate then that would be amazing!


We’re really pleased to announce another accolade to add to our collection of awards and accreditations. We have recently achieved Accredited Learning Provider status from the Learning & Performance Institute (LPI). The accreditation signifies that we are committed to continual performance improvement and offer our clients the highest levels of quality and service.

LPI Accredited Learning Provider

The LPI assessed us on 8 different aspects of our business: Sales and Marketing, Business Integrity, Client Value Proposition, Delivery Capability, Quality and Performance Management, Service Development Roadmap, People Development and Business Stability.

Verner Wheelock’s Managing Director, Alison Wheelock, said, “The LPI accreditation is great news, and it demonstrates the whole team’s dedication to providing the very best training and customer service to our clients. I think it helps that we also have an ISO 9001 certificated Quality Management System which monitors customer feedback and satisfaction.”

LPI Essential Online Delivery Skills

Five staff members, including Alison, have also completed and passed the LPI’s Essential Online Delivery Skills course. “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic we have been delivering more and more courses remotely, so we wanted to ensure that the training remains as engaging as being in the classroom,” said Alison. “This course gave us some really good ideas for different ways of increasing online interactivity and keeping the training fresh. Our focus for this year is to ensure that our course materials are updated and optimised for remote delivery, and the LPI accreditation has given us a framework to work within.”

At Verner Wheelock we offer face-to-face, remote and in-house training at all levels in food safety, HACCP and auditing, together with specialist courses such as Managing Food Allergens, Legal Labelling and Ethical Trading Workshops. We are also welcoming back delegates to our Covid-19 safe training centre in Skipton, North Yorkshire.

For more information, please visit www.vwa.co.uk

Sedex Virtual Assessments (SVA)

Verner Wheelock Sedex Virtual Assessment SVA

We are very pleased to announce that Verner Wheelock has been approved to undertake Sedex Virtual Assessments (SVA).

To achieve this status we had to demonstrate that we had the appropriate competencies, technology and infrastructure to enable the virtual assessments to take place.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with SVAs, we’ve put together a set of questions and answers below. These should give you a better idea of how they work and when they can be used.

What is a Sedex Virtual Assessment (SVA)?

Put simply, a Sedex Virtual Assessment checks the performance of a site based on the SMETA methodology. Instead of an ethical auditor visiting the site in person, the assessment takes place via video conferencing. Documentation is sent through electronically for review.

Does an SVA replace a SMETA audit?

No. SVAs do not replace a full SMETA audit. If you have an SVA you may still be required to have a full audit at a later date. However, they are a useful interim assessment if you are due a full audit, but it cannot take place. Reasons for this could include lockdown due to a pandemic, or a remote site location. A virtual assessment can also be used for a follow-up audit in some circumstances.

How does an SVA differ from a normal SMETA audit?

Firstly, it is all conducted virtually over the internet. A week before the audit an online pre-assessment meeting will take place to test technology and provide an overview of the format of the assessment. Secondly the assessment needs to be carried out on an ‘announced’ basis so that we can ensure that all the relevant technologies are working on the day. We will require a full site map and much of the documentation to be sent to us prior to the assessment. There will also be the facility to upload supporting documents e.g. wages and working hours information, to a shared portal during the assessment.

Will you still be undertaking worker interviews?

Yes. As with a regular audit, worker interviews will form an essential element of the assessment. These must take place as group interviews via video conferencing, but if this is not possible, we will use direct worker engagement. As always, workers’ identities will remain confidential.  A suitable room and a freestanding laptop with a camera and microphone will need to be provided.

Can any site have an SVA?

The short answer is ‘no.’ First of all, your buyers have to agree to it. Any site wishing to undergo an SVA will then be subject to Site Suitability Checks. You need to ensure that you have suitable reliable technology in place. This means a good, stable Wi-Fi network with secondary back-up. You will also need a fully charged smartphone or tablet connected to a reliable mobile network. The smartphone or tablet must have a powerful camera (8 megapixels or higher) capable of recording detail as it will be used to ‘walk’ the assessor around the site. A site must commit to providing all requested documentation including a detailed site map.

The history of the site and any open non-conformances will also need to be taken into consideration. Companies who have a previous history of coaching employees, attempted bribery or lack of transparency in their operations will not be permitted an SVA.

How does it work?

The structure of an SVA is similar to an ethical audit and is based on the SMETA methodology. Once the request for an assessment has been made and your site has met the suitability criteria, the scope of the assessment is agreed. You will then be allocated an assessment date.

On the day there is an opening meeting with the auditor and the audit team/management, as normal, and then a virtual tour of the site is live streamed via smartphone or tablet. Just like on a regular ethical audit, the auditor will be asking questions throughout and will be requesting supporting documentation. This can be uploaded to a secure shared portal. Worker interviews will take place via video conferencing. Once all the interviews have taken place and the auditor has all the information they require, the closing meeting can take place. The auditor will then write the report and it will be uploaded to the Sedex platform.

For more information on Sedex Virtual Assessments or SMETA ethical audits, please contact Samantha Day on 01756 700802 or samantha.day@vwa.co.uk

five things about VWA in-house courses

If you have 5 or more staff to train, an in-house course can be the most cost-effective way to do it.

‘In-house’ means that only staff from your company will attend the training course. This is in contrast to our open courses where delegates from several different companies attend the same course.

We offer all our HACCP, Food Safety, Auditing and Specialist courses as in-house courses. As always, they are delivered by trainers with considerable experience of working within the food industry.

5 facts about our in-house courses

5 things about VWA in-house courses

Not used Zoom or Microsoft teams before?

Don’t worry, we will be happy to take you through how to connect and the different functions you can use before the course takes place. Just give us a call or drop us an email beforehand and we can set up a practice session.

Feedback from recent remote courses

We have had extremely positive feedback to our remote courses. Here are a few recent testimonials:

“This was the first training course I’ve completed using Zoom. It was better than I expected and almost as good as face to face training.”

“Excellent trainer, patient, knowledgeable and fun. Even via Zoom there was a great team vibe and connection to the trainer.”

“Very captivating and knowledgeable – didn’t lose focus whilst listening, even though the course was run virtually.”

“Once again an excellent service from the VWA team. The tutor did a great job delivering online. It is a new way of working for everyone but worked well. The course was well structured and tutor knowledge excellent.”

“Training, even during the difficult period of COVID restrictions and limitations was managed in the best possible way. Materials were pre-selected and delivered prior to Day 1 of the class.
The pack was nicely organised, segregated and was super easy to navigate during the sessions. Course had plenty of the group and individual exercises. Each workshop was refreshed following morning with the time to ask the questions. I would recommend the course to anyone that is looking for upskilling session as well as to experienced individuals.”

Find out more about in-house courses

To enquire about in-house courses, please call Claire Lennon on 01756 700802 or email claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk

Verner Wheelock in-house or open courses

In the good old days before Covid-19, we at Verner Wheelock offered just two types of course. ‘Open’ or ‘In-house.’

Open courses

Open courses are so-called because they are open to anyone. Delegates from several different companies all attend the same course. So, you might have a Technical Manager from one company on the same course as a Quality Manager from another. It’s a great opportunity to share experience and ideas and relate the course content to different processes at the same time as learning.

Verner Wheelock Training Room

Open course dates are scheduled for specific dates and appear on our Training Calendar and on the Verner Wheelock website. The fees are paid for each individual attending a course.

In-house courses

In-house courses are attended only by people from the same company and normally take place ‘in-house’ i.e. at the company’s own premises. They are most cost-effective if you have five or more staff to train. These are charged on a ‘per course’ basis and there are two pricing tiers: up to seven delegates; and up to fifteen delegates (or twelve if it’s an advanced level course.)

Unlike open courses, you choose the dates that are convenient for the training to take place, and we organise it all at your chosen venue.

Remote training

remote food industry training

With social distancing and travel restrictions due to Covid-19, we have adapted our offering so that courses can be delivered remotely via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Delegates booked on to remote courses click on a link that is sent to them and they attend a live instructor-led training session with one of our trainers. They can join the training from wherever they happen to be – at work or at home – so long as they have a computer, laptop or tablet with internet connection and audio. 

All the content of a classroom-based course is included in a remote training course, to ensure the usual syllabus is covered

Dual delivery open courses

We are able to provide dual delivery of our open courses, so you can choose to attend either in person at our training centre, or remotely.

Due to social distancing restrictions, we can only accept up to six people at Skipton, so places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Please be assured that we have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment and taken the necessary precautions to make your visit as safe as possible.

In-house courses can be delivered remotely too

When you book an in-house course with us, we will ask whether you want the training to take place on site, or remotely. If you opt for remote training, your staff do not need to be in the same room. If they are working from home, they can log in from there. Otherwise, if they are at work, they can log in from their desk or any other room.

Course materials

Everyone attending one of our courses will receive a course folder and handouts (plus a text book for Level 3 and Level 4 Food Safety courses) sent to their home or place of work.

Open courses – If you are attending an open course in Skipton these will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive. If you are attending an open course remotely, you will be sent the course materials via courier a few days before the course begins.

In-house courses – For face-to-face in-house courses, we will deliver all course materials to site. However, if the course is being delivered remotely, there is also the option to have the course materials delivered to home addresses. Our Training Support Team will organise this for you.


We can arrange for exams to be taken with remote invigilation to avoid unnecessary travel.

We hope that this article has helped to clarify the different training options. You can find more information about our open and in-house training on the main website.

The team look forward to seeing you on one of our HACCP, Food Safety, Auditing or Specialist courses very soon.