Training for success

This week we’ve got a guest blogger – Carole Webster, a school cook from Cavendish Primary School in Hull. In our latest issue of Cook for Success magazine, we asked Carole to share her thoughts on why it’s vital – and rewarding – to keep your skills fresh….

“As a team leader in a school kitchen, staff look to you for
guidance and training on a daily basis. And like me, many
of you will also deliver training to your staff more formally
from time to time. Sometimes when I’ve trained my staff
before, I’ve thought – ‘I know how to do this, but how do
I know that everyone will leave the session with the skills
I want to share?’

Earlier this year, I went on some training for myself with two of
my colleagues from Hull City Catering – we’re all supervisors
running busy school kitchens. It was a ‘Train the Trainer’ style
course run by the School Food Trust, especially developed for
school cooks. It was interesting to listen to and learn from other
cooks – everyone had good ideas to share. Hearing other people’s
experiences makes you aware of different circumstances that
could occur, and ways to deal with them.

I really enjoyed the session where we had to teach others on the
course how to do something new, but not necessarily related to
cooking. I liked finding out people’s hidden talents – my skill was
paper weaving! I came away with new ideas on how to inspire
confidence in others, approach different – sometimes challenging
– situations, how to explain things in different ways and adapt my
style of training to suit the trainee.

Training is an essential part of running an efficient, safe kitchen
but it also refreshes your skills, teaches you something new and
gives you lots more confidence in your work. Plus, it’s nice to meet
other cooks and enjoy a change of scenery every now and then!

My top training tips are:
• Keep your skills up to date – you’ll see your
school lunch service from a different point of view

• Get together– talk about your experiences with
other cooks

• Practice makes perfect – after any training
you receive, make sure you get lots of opportunities
to try out the things you’ve learnt.”

Cook for Success is our specialist magazine for school cooks, which goes to more than 22,000 kitchens.  It delivers the latest news on school food issues, top tips and advice from cooks around the country and recipes designed for use in schools – direct to your kitchen door. Read more of this edition here. To advertise in Cook for Success, contact Linda Cregan. If you’d like to take part in the course which Carole completed with us,  contact Simon Thake.

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