A pair of female entrepreneurs from the Tees Valley are hoping to transform how the food industry trains its staff after announcing the launch of a new national training platform dedicated to the sector.

The new platform, which is called Foodsphere, is the brainchild of Rachel West and Jo Jones. They were inspired to develop more flexible ways of helping people in the industry train and upskill their people by offering online access to hundreds of courses in food manufacture, nutrition and hospitality and catering.

The industry training experts, who started working together in 2003, set up Flexi Training in 2009 to provide NVQ’s and apprenticeships specifically related to different aspects of the food industry.

Since launching Flexi Training, the business has seen many challenges in the sector, and they identified that much of the training currently on offer was no longer fit for purpose.

Rachel said: “For some time, we have had feedback from employers asking us why staff have had to cover certain training elements that were not relevant to a person’s role for them to achieve a qualification.

“Our approach breaks training down into smaller courses meaning people can develop their skills in areas that are more specific to their needs more efficiently.

“We know how important it is to get the right accreditations, skills and procedures in place, and every single one of our courses has been created by experts, for experts, meaning our courses are also relevant and current”.

The changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a surge in online courses that can be taken on demand. Foodsphere offers training that can be accessed from home or the workplace at a time that’s convenient for the learner and the employer.

Jo added, “We wanted to accelerate the work we have been doing as Flexi Training, and we set up Foodsphere to offer a more agile approach to learning and created it with industry associations in mind. All of our courses have been developed around the BRC Global Standard, Food Safety Act and Health and Safety Act.

“Foodsphere offers all aspects of food training for food manufacturing, hospitality and catering and nutrition and our aim is to cover every element so people will have more knowledge and skills in whatever area of the sector they work.

With ambitious growth plans in place, the pair’s vision is for Foodsphere to become the largest UK training platform for the food industry.

“We’re on a mission to create diverse and engaging training courses that are relevant and useful to today’s businesses and people working in the food industry.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, many people will be looking to refresh their existing skills or learn new ones.

“We want to help people upskill quickly, and in their own time, by learning online through our huge catalogue of courses created to suit any profession or business in the sector”, added Rachel.

​​With a library of over 100 courses already available, the team is constantly working on new ones to meet the sector’s training needs. Classes currently include contamination to temperature control, waste management to cocktail making, knife skills to understanding allergens and easy nutrition to fortification and supplements. The team are also able to create bespoke courses for almost any issue related to food.

And with courses available from as little as £3.99, Foodsphere offers an affordable way for people to learn new skills for themselves and employers to upskill their new or existing workforce. To find out more, visit www.foodsphere.co.uk.