Spotlight on Short Courses

Whether you are a budding Jamie Oliver, fancy opening your own cafe or want to work in one then you will need a Food Safety qualification. In fact it is a legal requirement for anyone who serves or sells food to members of the public.

If you are thinking about taking a course in your local area to enhance your CV then what sort of things should you be aware of? We asked our Food Safety Tutor Sally to give us the lowdown on Food Safety qualifications.

food safety

If you are thinking about taking a Level 1 course then you should check that it will be useful to you. It might not be good enough for working in a catering role. Level 2 is more widely recognised within the food industry and will open up more opportunities for you.

You should also check any course you are considering is accredited by an awarding body and not just a printed certificate from the course provider!

Gaining industry standard qualifications will enhance your skills and improve your employability. If you are considering taking a short course then you should look for the qualification awarding bodies such as the Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering or RSPH Food Safety in Catering.

Level 2 will allow you to prepare, cook and serve food to members of the public in a safe and hygienic way so you don’t give them food poisoning! Gaining this qualification will allow you to work in:

• Restaurants
• Cafes
• School meals system
• Health and social care
• Nurseries and childcare

You will cover a range of subjects such as: food safety management & temperature controls, food poisoning controls, personal hygiene, hazards and the role of the food handler in keeping food safe. So taking a short course can help you understand so much more than just wiping down food areas!

The qualification lasts for 3 years after which it is expected, by law, that you refresh the qualification and keep your skills and knowledge up to date with current legislation.

If you are interested in a more senior role then you could progress onto a Level 3 course which gives you more opportunity to work in a supervisory role.

You can take the 1 day classroom based course with us here at Adult Skills and Community Learning in Barnsley. Most short courses have a fee to pay but you could be eligible for fee remission if you are on certain benefits. You can contact us direct on 01226 775270 or check our website for more details:

If you live in a different area then contact your local college or council to see where you can get qualified.

FS 2

There are lots of entry level routes into employment within the food and catering industry but if you want to know more about future careers in environmental health you can have a look at on the National Careers Service Website:

Environmental Health Officer –
Counter Service Assistant –

If in any doubt you can always check with your local environmental health department or look on the Food Standards Agency website.

Thanks for reading and as always we’d love to hear from you.


Tackling Hate Crime – how you can help

This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week. #NHCAW

We’ve asked our Learner Support Co-ordinator to write a short article on Hate Crime and how you could help tackle it by volunteering and gaining some great skills and maybe a new career! Some of our learners are also talking about their experiences with hate crime and how they were supported by their local organisations.

What is hate crime?

If a crime or incident is thought to be motivated by prejudice against a person’s: disability, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or faith then it could be perceived as a hate crime. Hate crimes could be: name calling, damage to your property, offensive graffiti, online hatred or provoking online abuse.

Hate crime can trigger a huge range of emotions such as shock, fear and anger. The lasting damage could be evident by the victim experiencing sleep problems, anxiety and depression to name a few.

How to report hate crime:

If you are interested in a career in tackling hate crime then you could look for local volunteering vacancies. There are some great opportunities to be involved and learn what it’s like to support individuals who have been affected by hate crime. Here are some local to us in South Yorkshire. If you can’t find anything where you live then you could contact your local volunteer co-ordinator or victim support office

HCYou can also find some great information on the type of work you could do and the skills needed on the National Careers Service website.

Thanks for reading – as always, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a good week    #hatecrime

Bridging the gap on your CV

It’s quite usual to have a gap in your employment record, let’s face it not many people go through life without experiencing some period of unemployment! You might have to take some time out to care for a relative. What if you’ve been ill and unable to work for a while or were made redundant?
It doesn’t matter why you have gaps on your CV, the hard part is bridging or addressing these gaps and making sure they don’t work against you!

mind the gap

Honesty is the best policy when dealing with any gaps. You don’t have to go into all the details, being discrete might be the best option in some cases, but it’s important to remember that you should never leave reasons out completely or lie about the reason.

You should be consistent in your approach to any dates on your CV and give yourself an opportunity to cover any gaps. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave out the months and just put the years. Formatting your CV – this will help to draw attention to or away from certain sections. So if your skills are really strong in one area of work then you could draw the reader in and turn attention towards your skills and away from dates.

You could use BOLD to draw the eye to the company and the role you played. If you take this approach then don’t forget to alter all your dates to year only and keep it consistent.

An employer will verify your start and end dates during the recruitment process, but at this stage you are keeping it nice and simple and using the year only to maximise your chances of gaining an interview.

Positive talk – Life happens and it might have taken you some time to get a job, maybe you lost confidence and faith that you would get another job and got a little disheartened. It wouldn’t be ok to say “I was not able to find a job” that really doesn’t sound positive and in all honesty probably wouldn’t encourage an employer to contact you. However, you could say that you decided to take some time to look at other career options. If you were made redundant then you could write about what you have learnt from the process.

New Skills – Perhaps you’ve learnt that your skills in IT were outdated and you taught yourself some new skills, or maybe you used the time to concentrate on a family member who needed some support. These are all positive statements and shows that you looked on the bright side and used the time well.

Don’t be caught off guard! Keep up to date with news from the industry you are applying to so you can talk with confidence that any gap hasn’t put you at a disadvantage. If you are invited for interview then be prepared to talk about your gaps with confidence and show that any periods of unemployment have not dampened your enthusiasm for being a good employee and you are raring to go!

Different reasons for gaps in your CV and how to talk about them in an interview 

Family reasons – It wouldn’t be useful to say “the reasons are personal and I don’t want to discuss it.” Tell your prospective employer that you have been looking after a family member and that it is no longer an issue.

Ill health – You can talk about any periods of ill health and that at the time you were unable to work but that you are now back to full health and ready to take on new challenges and experiences.
Redundancy – Here is your opportunity to talk about the skills you gained, what you were most proud of during your time there and how you look upon it as an opportunity to move on and learn more.

If you are worried about any lengthy gaps then now is the time to do something proactive to alter that. Why not look for a volunteer position or take a course to improve your skills. That will eliminate most of the problem – you aren’t working and you are using the time to improve your skills and employability. You really will demonstrate your readiness to take on new challenges.

Be honest and show the employer what you have to offer.

Do you have any tips that you could pass on to our readers? We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading smiling emoji.png