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Benefits of attending a CIEH course.

There is hardly a week passes when someone does not call me to enquire about the difference between online food safety training and attending a course. I have provided some detailed information gained from the CIEH on this topic. I hope it answers most of your questions.

CIEH qualification:

  • are developed to clearly defined national standards
  • are developed in conjunction with industry to ensure they are fit for purpose
  • have Sector Skills Council endorsement and, invariably, Ofqual (DCELLS, CCEA) accreditation
  • are developed by an experienced team of developers using a rigorous, reiterative development process
  • are assessed under exam conditions using rigorously tested examination papers
  • are delivered by a highly qualified and experienced CIEH registered trainer under the auspices of the CIEH registered centre, which enables the course delivery to be adapted to the specific candidate group as the course progresses (unlike e learning)
  • Most importantly it can be guaranteed that the holder of a CIEH accredited qualification certificate has achieved a clearly defined standard of achievement, something which enforcement officers actively seek to confirm.
  • Overall online courses provide you with on line proof you have taken an e-learning module rather than an accredited award.
  • Awards can only be obtained by taking an exam in person and showing proof of ID!

When it comes to e learning:

  • The accuracy and quality of the product cannot be guaranteed
  • The high cost of developing a ‘good quality’ e learning product means that it often does not get updated as regularly as classroom based teaching to take into account, for example, changes in legislation
  • There is no guarantee that learning has taken place
  • There is no guarantee of any defined outcome
  • Enforcement officers are more likely to question the validity of the learning that has taken place
  • You do not get an accredited certificate.
  • If you do online eLearning CIEH food safety you will then be eligible to take the examination for CIEH and OfQual accreditation at a CIEH registered centre for an additional fee.

I've had managers and supervisors complain it's often more of a task and time consuming, chasing staff to get them to complete online courses. 

CIEH food safety training courses are set at differing levels to ensure you get the exact training course you require. 

Level 1 

Aimed at those new to the workplace who require a simple training course in a subject to keep them and those around them safe, when starting work or as part of an induction programme. For example, school leavers taking their first job or those with special needs. 


Level 2 

Safety training for people in the workplace who participate in activities related to the subject area. The qualification equates to the ‘foundation’ or ‘basic’ qualification, e.g. shop floor employees and front line staff employees in production or services.

Course examples

  • Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering, Retail, Manufacturing and Logistics
  • Level 2 Award in HACCP
  • Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets
  • Level 2 Award in Allergy Awareness

    Level 3

    Aimed at those in the workplace who require safety training courses in activities related to the subject area and who also have a related supervisory role. The qualification equates to the intermediate qualification, e.g. team leaders, supervisors and junior managers.

    Course examples:

  • CIEH Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering
  • CIEH Level 3 Award in Food Safety Supervision for Manufacturing
  • CIEH Level 3 Award in Food Safety Supervision for Retail

    Level 4 

    Aimed at those in the workplace who participate in activities related to the subject area and who also have a related management and/or training role. The qualification equates to the advanced qualification e.g. senior supervisors, departmental managers and operations managers with responsibility for multiple sites.

    Course examples:

  • Level 4 Award in Managing Food Safety in Catering 
  • Level 4 Award in Food Safety Management for Manufacturing

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