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Training in the Food Industry

BY Merle Litshie

Why train employees?

The aim of training is to help employee’s grow in competence and confidence this therefore increases effectiveness of individuals, teams, departments and the organization. Training is also used as proof that competent employees are working in the facility. Training is not a stand-alone entity but is one of the several elements that make an organization effective. Training also helps to encourage a shared purpose amongst employees and management as employees that are trained, tend to care about what they do and are usually motivated to do things better.


Disadvantages when training is not taken seriously:
The worst mistake done in many food companies is that when there is pressure for demand, there comes a time when the organization is in desperate for someone or a group of people (casual workers). Casuals are expected to do the work there and there. Supervisors and managers do put untrained people to work who are usually grouped with semi competent employees or incompetent workers (as the competent workers will be handling other problematic areas). The organization expects or hopes that these untrained employees will figure it out and make it work as they work. This kind of behavior results in many non-conformances which result in rejections, loss of time and resources, loss of profits and increases wage pay outs for lack of service or goods never completed.


The food industry is generally very busy as they are feeding the nations but it is not advisable to let training be an audit tick and leave it out until a few weeks before the audit. Training must also not be pushed to the last few weeks of the year as employees will be on holiday mode and fatigued as they will be nearing holidays at the end of the year, training will most probably be ineffective.

 

Tips for training planning:

  • Training must be planned at the beginning of every year (each department to identify their training needs as per their job specification)
  • A training matrix must be documented (must be documented using job specification as well as departmental training needs) as per departmental 
  • Refresher training must also be indicated on the training matrix
  • Human resources as well as departmental heads need to identify training gaps (slow production times, when lines are scheduled for heavy maintenance etc.)
  • Meeting must be held by the training department, human resources, department heads and management to discuss training needs, time for training and budget allocations
  • New employees and casuals must be trained as soon as possible prior to starting on the job.
  • Once training is done, employees must be assessed theoretically and practically to check effectiveness of training
  • Contractors working in the organization must also undergo a once off induction training before starting the first job. Refresher training should be done annually

When planned properly, training is an effective tool that also ensure all staff is competent and able to control systems in place especially key systems such as CCP monitoring and corrective action. Employees trained in a friendly non-rushed environment yields best results. So, training is important so as to improve current and new systems.

 

 

 October 06, 2014
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Food Safety
Merle Litshie

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