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Why it makes sense to train when you’re furloughed

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, if anyone had said the word ‘furloughed’ to me, I would have assumed that it was some sort of farming term. Now, of course, I know that it refers to someone who is retained on a company’s books, but is on a temporary leave of absence. For example, it refers to an employee who cannot do their work from home, or a staff member whose company is unable to pay wages during the lockdown period.

Under the current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers can claim a Government grant that will pay up to 80% of a furloughed employee’s earnings to a maximum of £2500 per month. At the time of writing the scheme is in place until the end of June, although this could change.

A furloughed worker is not allowed to do any work for their company. As I wrote in a previous blog post, he/she is however, eligible to do picking and packing work on farms to supplement their income.

You CAN train if you’re furloughed

Another activity they are permitted to undertake is training. According to current Government advice, “Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation.”

Appropriate training is an essential element for the success of the food industry. We provide all levels of Food Safety, HACCP and Auditing training, as well as specialist courses such as Legal Labelling, Managing Food Allergens and Root Cause Analysis. Thanks to the power of technology we can deliver most of our training courses using voice and video software. The courses are interactive and hosted live by our experienced tutors and there is the opportunity to ask questions and work in groups, just as you would on a regular face-to-face course.

Get ahead before you return to work

If you are on furlough, now is the ideal time to catch up with some training. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, without worrying about disrupting shift patterns or leaving an organisation short-staffed. You’ll also have the added benefit of being fully prepared for your role when normal working life resumes.

Often, it’s difficult for HR managers to organise ‘in-house’ training due to tight production schedules. However, if staff are furloughed, this is the perfect opportunity to get several employees trained at once. Verner Wheelock are currently offering online training through live remote delivery of their usual range of courses. The training works in exactly the same way as a regular VWA in-house course, but the employees and the VWA trainer join the training from their own homes via the internet.

Similarly, if it’s been a few years since you took a Level 3 or 4 qualification, why not use this spare time to update your knowledge? We run HACCP Refresher, Auditing Refresher and Food Safety Update courses, which only take a few hours to complete. They’ll also satisfy BRC requirements for refresher training every three years.

Find out more about our live remote training courses by calling our Business Development Executive, Claire Lennon on 01756 700802 or emailing claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk

For a full list of our training courses, please view our training calendar.