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Alison Wheelock in business awards final

We’re really excited to report that our Managing Director, Alison Wheelock, has reached the finals of the Business Chameleon category of the annual National Business Women’s Awards.

Alison Wheelock finalist in business award

The Business Chameleon award is a new category for 2020 and invited nominations for those business leaders who have successfully adapted their business offering and practices in order to continue during this challenging year.

Adapting to change

As a company providing face-to-face training courses either at our training centre on the Broughton Hall Estate or on-site at customers’ premises, Covid-19 lockdown could have proved problematic for Verner Wheelock. Alison was determined that as many courses as possible should run and so organised the IT, infrastructure and training to make this a reality.

In April 2020, we moved to providing live training courses in HACCP, food safety, auditing and specialist subjects such as food labelling and food allergens via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Customer feedback about the remotely delivered courses has been very positive.  As it looks like remote training is here to stay, we plan to develop these courses further in 2021.

Alison’s staff all continued to work full-time from home during the first lockdown, thanks to the company’s VoIP phone system, cloud-based accounts package and contact database, and daily staff Zoom meetings, which keep everyone up-to-date, and also promote staff wellbeing. 

Training throughout the pandemic

We’re a close-knit team at Verner Wheelock and have found new ways of working under difficult circumstances, so our company can continue its busy training schedule, providing courses to key workers employed in food and drink manufacturing and retailing.  

In September, we were able to resume classroom-based courses, but with limited numbers to comply with social distancing rules. We have also successfully run ‘dual delivery’ training with learners in the training room and online simultaneously.

Alison was delighted to hear that she had been shortlisted for the award. Marketing Manager, Rachel Coote, who nominated Alison for the award said, “Alison fully deserves this. She has adapted the business offering to ensure that key workers in the food industry are able to continue with essential training and has kept staff and trainers in employment. I’d love her to win!”

Let’s hope she does!