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The Excellence Awards Winners 2021

Anybody attending a Verner Wheelock course – whether here in Skipton, in-house, or remote – has a chance of being selected for a Verner Wheelock Excellence Award. There are awards for HACCP, Auditing and Food Safety as well as Individual Excellence, Company Excellence and Ethical Excellence.

For the HACCP, Auditing and Food Safety Awards, our trainers and staff nominate delegates throughout the year who have been outstanding during their training and have performed well in examinations.

The Individual Excellence Award is given to a delegate who might not have achieved the highest examination marks but who impressed the trainers with their enthusiasm. Often it is a combination of the two.

Company Excellence and Ethical Excellence awards are presented to those companies which have shown a dedication to the training of their staff and have demonstrated a policy of continuous improvement.

The winners of the 2021 Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards are

Liam Smith

HACCP Student of the Year 2021

Liam Smith, Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Liam, who attended an in-house Level 4 HACCP course said, “I was extremely thrilled and it is an absolute pleasure to be awarded HACCP student of the year 2021. I felt the course was extremely insightful, interesting and applicable to my job role as an Environmental Health Officer. I would also like to personally thank both Verner Wheelock and the trainer Peter, who did a fantastic job of structuring the course to maximise the learning potential; through the application of theoretical content into real life practical examples.”

Kathy Mcconnell

Food Safety Student of the Year 2021

Kathy McConnell
Cranswick plc

“I’m absolutely delighted (and a little shocked!) to have won this award,” said Kathy. “I thought the course provided a good mix of theory and examples of practical applications in a variety of settings, giving everyone views outside of our own industries. Being a virtual course, didn’t deter from the discussions we had throughout the week, which is testament to our course trainers. I would highly recommend this course to others and am looking forward to attending other Verner Wheelock courses in the future.”

Vicky Davidson

Auditing Student of the Year 2021

Vicky Davidson
Thistle Seafoods Ltd

Vicky says, “It was a lovely surprise to win the award.  I really enjoyed the Lead Auditor course from Verner Wheelock. It was organised very well with the full training pack arriving in plenty time before the course with a bonus of some biscuits too! There was a good range of interactive sessions over the days which allowed everyone to get fully involved. Carrying out an actual audit as part of the assessment also gave me some experience there and then.”

Alec Witts and Monica White

Company Excellence Award

Fullers Foods International plc
Osborne Farming Ltd

Samantha Day, Ethical Co-ordinator at Verner Wheelock, says, “This award was well-deserved. Osborne Farming impressed us with their commitment to implementing the ETI Base Code and continuous improvement. They had a SMETA audit that resulted in zero non-conformances and had clearly put lots of effort into preparing for the audit.”

Laura Parham

Individual Excellence Award

Laura Parham
Pret A Manger

Laura said, “I’m grateful to Verner Wheelock for this recognition as part of our ongoing efforts to build the team’s expertise in allergens and food safety. At Pret, training has always been one of our biggest focuses, particularly when introducing new systems or in-shop changes, making sure that staff feel fully comfortable is essential.”

Osborne Farming Ltd

Ethical Excellence Award

Osborne Farming Ltd

Samantha Day, Ethical Co-ordinator at Verner Wheelock, says, “This award was well-deserved. Osborne Farming impressed us with their commitment to implementing the ETI Base Code and continuous improvement. They had a SMETA audit that resulted in zero non-conformances and had clearly put lots of effort into preparing for the audit.”

Congratulations to all our 2021 Award Winners!

Excellence Awards winners announced

So, the time has finally come. After much ‘deliberating, cogitating and digesting’ (as Lloyd Grossman used to say on Masterchef), we have pleasure in revealing the winners of the 3rd Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards. They have been chosen from nominations by our course tutors and as ever it has been a very difficult decision to make.

Awards recognise excellence

trainingThe Awards recognise the hard work, enthusiasm and flair of our delegates and their respective companies. All individual winners attended our classroom-based courses here in Skipton during 2017. All have achieved outstanding grades in advanced level exams.

There were  5 awards up for grabs: HACCP, Food Safety, Auditing, Company Excellence and Individual Excellence.

So, without further ado, the winners of the 2017 Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards are:

Verner Wheelock Excellence AwardsHACCP Student of the Year – Nattakan Pinyopat, Warburtons

Food Safety Student of the Year – Kerrie Borthwick, Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd

Auditing Student of the Year – Julie Ryan, CSM Bakeries

Individual Excellence Award – Brandon Green, Ornua Ingredients

Company Excellence Award – Shepherds Purse Cheeses

As well as receiving a trophy, the winners also get a voucher for £250 against any future classroom or in-house training with Verner Wheelock. The winner of the Company Excellence Award receives a voucher for £500.

Previous  winners have included delegates from PAS Grantham, F Smales & Sons, Symingtons, pladis and Harper Green School. Also Bakkavor Desserts, Taylors of Harrogate, New Ivory and Sykes House Farm.

Verner Wheelock MD, Alison Wheelock said, “There are always certain people  attending our courses who stand out as being exceptional. The Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards are a great way of recognising these talents. Our delegates continue to achieve excellent examination results and we’re very fortunate that we have  longstanding relationships with so many companies within this industry. Huge congratulations to all our winners! “

We will be posting pictures of the winners with their awards in the next few weeks, so watch this space!

Verner Wheelock – Monthly update – November 2015

November has been extremely busy at Verner Wheelock, with all levels of Auditing and HACCP courses taking place in Skipton as well as the TACCP workshop, CIEH Training the Trainer and the first day of the Level 4 Food Safety course.

As always, there have been several in-house courses at sites across the UK (a very cost-effective option if you have more than a couple of staff to train), with TACCP, BRC7 Updates and refresher training being the flavour of the month this time.


We’ve had some excellent results this month in both open and in-house courses.

Well done to all those who have passed their exams with FDQ and RSPH. The FDQ Lead Auditor course in Skipton in November was of a very high standard this time, with 7 of the 11 delegates achieving a Distinction. Top students Helen Keast, Raw Material Manager at Bakkavor Desserts, and Verner Wheelock trainer Eleanor Nicholls scored a fantastic 98% in the written exam. There were also some great scores on the recent in-house Lead Auditor course at Warburton’s (love the new Giant Crumpet Show advert, by the way!).

We have also had great results in recent RSPH Level 2 Foundation Certificate in HACCP courses with several students in Skipton and on an in-house course at Del Monte scoring 19 or 20 out if 20!

Well done everyone!

Staff news

Claire and KarenWelcome to Karen Naylor and Claire Lennon (welcome back) who have joined Verner Wheelock as Business Development Executives this month, and a sad goodbye to Carole Dickason who is leaving after 5 years in a variety of roles.  Read more here.

Well done to Jason Kearton on passing his driving test! Lets hope he finds a suitable car soon so that getting the train and bus to work are all in the past!

Also, happy 77th birthday to our founder and Chairman, Dr Verner Wheelock on 29th November.

December offers

Christmas offers at Verner Wheelock

Look out for our email offers coming through every week until Christmas.

There will be discounts on Auditing, HACCP and Food Safety courses throughout December so make sure you make good use of these offers and book your 2016 training now!

January 2016 courses

Don’t forget, any 2016 open or in-house courses booked by 31st December 2015 are charged at 2015 prices.

6th January: BRC 7 Update course
7th January:  TACCP Workshop
11 – 14th January: Level 4 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing
18 – 19th January: Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing
25 – 28th January: FDQ Lead Auditor

See further 2016 dates here

To book, please call Claire or Karen on 01756 700802 or visit the main website www.vwa.co.uk

The Hairy Bikers bring ‘Meals on Wheels’ back

First it was Jamie Oliver with his mission to improve school dinners. Now the Hairy Bikers are on a crusade to revive and improve the Meals on Wheels service by encouraging cooks to ditch dried and frozen foods and prepare fresh, tasty meals instead. They kicked off a new service two years ago in Surrey and Yorkshire and recently were back on TV revisiting the volunteers and recipients.

In our opinion, actions such as this should be applauded since they not only bring communities closer together, but they ensure that the elderly are receiving at least one hot, nutritious meal per week. And as we know, good nutrition is particularly important for older people.

Healthy food = healthier people

Several studies have shown that the correct diet, suitable hydration and light exercise amongst the elderly can make them feel more alert, reduce the number of infections and colds, aid digestion and reduce the need for laxatives. If you’re in charge of planning meals for senior citizens, it’s worth bearing in mind that many are deficient in Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Iron and Calcium. Foods that have been proven to help combat these deficiencies include yellow and orange fruit and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, oily fish, pulses, red meat, liver, wholemeal bread, eggs and dairy products.

Make sure the food you prepare and share is safe

Not only do you need to ensure that you are providing a healthy balanced diet, you need to be sure that the food you’re providing has been prepared safely. With the exception of the local pub chef, who cooked meals for the Golcar (Huddersfield) Meals on Wheels service, all other meals were cooked and delivered by volunteers – some almost as old as those they were delivering to!

Whether you’re being paid to provide a service or you’re a volunteer, if what you do involves handling or preparing food and serving it to the public, you need to make sure that you have undergone basic food safety and hygiene training.

Basic food safety training is essential

Earlier this year we provided Level 2 Food Safety training to members of South Parade Baptist Church in Leeds. They run regular retired persons’ lunches, drop-in evenings for homeless men and women, student lunches and also provide catering for under-fives. It was therefore essential to them that they knew how to avoid cross-contamination and were able to prepare and store food in line with industry guidelines.

In this instance, because there were a number of volunteers and some were elderly, VWA provided training in-house. However, we also offer the same Level 2 course  and a Level 3 Food Safety course online, which means that everyone can learn at their own pace – this flexibility is particularly useful if, like the Meals on Wheels teams we saw on TV, you have a full-time job.

On completion of the online Level 2 Food Safety course, you will have an understanding of a wide range of key food safety issues, including the three main types of food safety hazard – physical, chemical and microbiological, their sources and methods of control. Plus there is the added bonus that if you decide to take up catering full-time, you will already have the basic food safety qualification.

Would you be prepared for an unannounced BRC audit?

Auditing Skills

The prospect of an unannounced audit is likely to put the fear of God into some food manufacturers. However, like it or not, unannounced audits are on the increase.

Supermarket giant Asda is the first of the major retailers to set the ball rolling by insisting that its suppliers have unannounced BRC audits, starting from 1st October this year. The audits will cover the entire supply chain and any supplier that does not agree to be audited in this way will no longer achieve Asda technical approval.

Up until Asda’s announcement in July, BRC unannounced audits were voluntary but a successful audit could lead to coveted A+ status for a site, the highest grade available. Generally speaking audits take place on an agreed date which is roughly 12 months from the last audit date. This gives the company involved plenty of notice to make sure all documentation is up-to-date, members of staff are briefed, the premises and equipment are up to approved standards and the Technical Manager and other senior managers are present.

Two options are available for unannounced audits

As the name suggests, an unannounced audit can take place at any time and inspection of the premises will take place within 30 minutes of the auditor’s arrival. Companies registering for unannounced audits must have BRC certificates with Grades of A+, A, B+ or B. There are two options available to them:

Option 1: the entire audit is conducted unannounced and can take place any time from 3 to 12 months of the audit due date. Typically it occurs within the last 4 months of the certification cycle. i.e. if your last audit was in January, then you could expect an unannounced audit to take place from September onwards.

Option 2: The audit is split into two parts with the first part, which covers GMP and production areas, being unannounced.  The second part is announced and is an audit of the company’s systems and documentation.

Detailed information on BRC Unannounced Audit Programmes including notification and common questions and answers, such as what to expect and what happens if your company usually has combined audits with more than one certification scheme, can be found here.

Surprise audits should be viewed as an opportunity

Given the choice, most of us would rather know when an auditor will be paying us a visit. But those who know that they operate to a high standard on a daily basis should have nothing to fear. Rather than viewing it as a nuisance, an unannounced audit should be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate confidence in your company’s systems and procedures. Plus, unannounced audits carry a ‘+’ sign after the grading e.g. ‘A+’ so that customers are aware that your BRC certification was awarded following an unannounced audit – giving them further reassurance.

Make sure you’re ready for your next audit – announced or unannounced

Knowledge is power! Knowing what to expect from an audit allows you to prepare for the real thing by giving you the skills and understanding to conduct your own internal audits at regular intervals.  VWA’s Auditing Skills course  is a highly interactive 2-day course which takes you through the entire audit process of carrying out your own internal audit from the opening meeting to reporting and corrective actions. It comprises 4 sections:

  1. Understanding the development, application and importance of auditing;
  2. How to undertake an audit; Evaluation and reporting of results;
  3. Putting the theory into practice;
  4. Group exercises including role play and industry case studies.


Other training providers often cover the subject of Internal Auditing in a day, but we feel that our 2-day course which allows time for group exercises and role play on Day 2 ensures delegates have the confidence to go back to work and carry out an effective audit of their systems.

The course has recently been approved by awarding body FDQ and now leads to the FDQ Certificate in Auditing Skills. Therefore, delegates attending this course  and passing the multiple choice exam at the end of Day 2 will now receive a certificate from a nationally recognised awarding body.

More information on our Auditing Skills course and a booking form