Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards 2015 – the winners revealed

Forget the Golden Globes, the Oscars and the National Television Awards… BAFTA? Scmafta! The only awards we’re interested in at Verner Wheelock are those concerned with the safety of the food we eat. So it is with great pride that we are able to reveal the winners of the very first Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards.

But first a little background…

The Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards were conceived early last year to coincide with our 25 year anniversary. Over the years we’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of food and drink manufacturers, caterers and packaging companies of all sizes, as well as individuals. Most of our delegates have really embraced the culture of food safety in all its forms and have shown genuine interest and understanding. What’s more several students have gone on to achieve excellent examination results resulting in winning national awards – Verner Wheelock Delegates have won 5 RSPH Awards in the past 3 years.

How we selected the winners

Throughout the past twelve months our course tutors have been making a note of those students they felt were outstanding. This did not necessarily mean that they gained the highest examination results; other factors were also considered such as overcoming adversity, passion for the subject and a desire to interact with fellow delegates and get the most out of the training experience. A shortlist was drawn up after the final course had run in December and we then had the unenviable task of selecting the winners in each category.

There are five categories in the Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards: Auditing Student of the Year , HACCP Student of the Year, Food Safety Student of the Year, Individual Excellence Award and Company Excellence Award.

And the winners are…

Helen Keast


Auditing Student of the Year:

Helen Keast, Raw Materials Manager, Bakkavor Desserts

Emily Claydon


HACCP Student of the Year:

Emily Claydon, QA Graduate, Taylor’s of Harrogate


Joanna Core


Food Safety Student of the Year:

Joanna Core, QA Manager, New Ivory

Helen, Joanna and Emily were selected because each has demonstrated an exceptionally high level of competence and understanding during advanced level training in their respective subjects. The practical application of the skills they have obtained should have made a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of their companies. This aptitude in HACCP, Food Safety and Auditing Skills were reflected in their outstanding examination results. All received distinctions.

Individual Excellence Award:

William Ptolomey, Technical Manager, Sykes House Farm

The criteria for the Individual Excellence Award was as follows:

“The individual will have shown genuine enthusiasm and interest in the training provided. He/she may have overcome challenges to achieve their qualification and might not necessarily have attained the highest mark in the examination. However they will have an obvious passion for developing and maintaining a HACCP and food safety culture within their company and will have participated fully in the interactive elements of the training, sharing their knowledge and training with fellow delegates.”

Sykes House crop

The tutors agreed unanimously that William was the obvious choice for this Award. He has undertaken several training courses with Verner Wheelock, including Level 4 HACCP, which he found challenging but by putting the hard work in he achieved this advanced level qualification. What made him stand out is the fact that he always participates in course discussions, even if the conversation does not directly relate to his area of expertise. William is also keen to see training filtered down through his company. In the words of one tutor “A real joy to teach.”

Company Excellence Award:

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Symington’s Ltd

The recipient of the Company Excellence Award demonstrated a commitment to a culture of continuous improvement in food safety throughout their organisation. They have a structured approach to training to ensure that staff, from new starters to management, have an understanding of Food Safety, HACCP and Auditing Skills at an appropriate level to their role. Delegates from the company have undertaken a variety of different training with Verner Wheelock to enable them to undertake their jobs to the best of their ability, contribute to their company and progress their careers within the food industry.

Verner Wheelock MD, Alison Wheelock said,

“We chose Symington’s for the Award because the delegates get involved in the training and put in lots of effort. They genuinely want to learn and put their knowledge into practice in the workplace. Symington’s have a long history of training with Verner Wheelock and delegates have attended a variety of courses with us including HACCP, Food Safety and Auditing. As a result we understand their business requirements and we work very well together. The delegates’ hard work is reflected in their excellent examination results and national awards.”

Will you win a Verner Wheelock Excellence Award next year?

If you attend Verner Wheelock courses in 2016 you have every chance of being an award winner next year. Our tutors are already on the lookout for delegates showing real promise, so fingers crossed!

You can find details of all our current food training courses

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