Community Food Training Train the Trainer day

I had the chance to shadow Joanne Parr on a training day where she was training youth workers to roll out Healthy Eating and cooking skills training to community Youth groups as part of the National Citizen Service programme (NCS). This work was funded by Somerset County council as part of a National project, aiming to teach 2000 young people with basic life skills including cooking healthy food.

community food training company demonstrating basic food preparation skills for Healthy Eating with Community youth workersI have a lifelong passion for cooking and good nuitrition, and as a mum of two, I have plenty of experience teaching my kids and their friends how to cook at home. But even as a professional wellbeing and safety practitioner with over fifteen years experience of developing and delivering training courses in the workplace, I was unsure that I had the confidence or skills to run this type of course.

Jo is an experienced home economist and food stylist with a background in delivering Healthy Eating and food education programmes, so this was a great opportunity for me to volunteer my time and skills in exchange for learning how to deliver food skills training in a Community setting.

Inspiring and Enthusing Young People

I really enjoyed learning about the NCS programme, and discussing the various concerns that the community youth workers raised as part of the group exercises. After an initial housekeeping chat and ice breaker activity, Jo outlined the agenda for the day and the aims and objectives of the session which were:

To inspire and enthuse participants and to increase confidence in cooking skills training’.

We looked at different learning styles, and thought about ways to engage the different people we may get in the groups, with tasks to increase engagement and and participation when they run the training with their own groups of young people.

Top Tips for Running an Effective Cooking Skills Course

Jo gave us some great tips for setting up a course of our own including:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time before the course to plan, risk assess, and set up your equipment.
  • Always clean down surfaces before you start and assume it is dirty even if it looks clean!
  • Clear obstacles from the work area and remove trip hazards including bags and coats.
  • Agree on a set of behavior principles and boundaries with the group at the start of course.
  • Remember Health and Hygiene principles at all times.
  • Be adaptable to your surroundings, and have a ‘Plan B’ (And C and D!) if things don’t work out.

After a brief discussion on how to engage the young people to continue what they had learnt, we left them with resource packs and some great online resources to inspire them when setting up their own courses. The most important thing I learnt from this training is that I have far more knowledge about this subject than I allowed myself to believe, and that it is something I want to do more of!

Ann Diment

April 2017