Highfield Qualifications has announced the winners of its UK Top Student Awards competition.

The names were announced at the Food Safety in a Changing World conference at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

The competition recognises the highest achieving learners in two of Highfield’s most prestigious qualifications – the Level 4 Award in Managing Food Safety and the Level 4 Award in HACCP for Management.

The students, who received their awards in front of the leading names in food safety in the UK, were:

Level 4 Award in Managing Food Safety winner

  • Marco Jerruntrup, Shield Safety Group Limited

Level 4 Award in HACCP for Management winners

  • Catherine Marsland, Adele Adams Associates Ltd
  • Simon Rees, IQMS an SAI Global Company

Each winning student received a cheque for £250 and a certificate to recognise their achievement, while their training providers received a specially designed plaque to display in their premises.

Richard Sprenger, Highfield chairman, said: “This is an excellent way for us to recognise the achievements of the top performing students in the UK, particularly in such important areas. These are the professionals of tomorrow, and the people who will reaffirm the UK’s reputation globally for high standards in food safety. It’s also encouraging that, in the inaugural year of the awards, the standard was so high that for one category we had two winners based on marks achieved’.

He added: “It was likewise important that we recognised the important work that training providers do. Our centres play an invaluable role in developing top-class students and future food safety professionals, and a large part of the success and the standing of the UK’s food safety sector internationally.”

Reaction from winners and providers

Level 4 Award in Managing Food Safety winner Marco Jerruntrup, Shield Safety Group Limited, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the course, which utilised my professional experience to extend my knowledge of food safety management.  It was a surprise to be awarded Best Student out of the many who took the exam and a genuine pleasure to spend the day at the seminar.  I hope to take part in more seminars in the future and progress my CPD!”

Mark Flanagan, CEO Shield Safety Group, said: “At Shield Safety group we pride ourselves the exceptional quality, structure and delivery of our courses. We are very proud to see one of our delegates achieve the highest mark this year, it’s a testament to the quality of our trainers and of course Marco himself. Big Congratulations to Marco on winning this award. Anyone who has attempted a Highfield Level 4 Award in Food Safety will fully understand the amount of hard work, dedication effort and determination it takes to undertake the course and pass the written exams. To do that and achieve a 96% pass mark is exceptional.”

Level 4 Award in HACCP for Management winner Catherine Marsland, Adele Adams Associates Ltd, said: ‘It’s a proud career moment for me.  The exam is tough but believe studying for a degree through the OU kept my exam skills up to date which helped. I’d like to thank Adele for all her support through the course and believing in me when I was the only non-technical person on the course!”

Adela Adams, managing director, Adele Adams Associates, said: “This is a significant achievement; the Level 4 Award in HACCP for Management syllabus and competency assessment are very challenging. The 5-day programme involves a detailed study of HACCP methodology and management, including designing, implementing, validating and verifying HACCP systems. Culminating in a 3-hour written examination, this course is demanding for even the most experienced HACCP practitioners. Furthermore, to Cath’s credit, is that her role as Planning Manager at CSM Bradford is not that of a typical delegate. We mostly see Technical Mangers or HACCP Team Leaders attend this course. This is a clear illustration of the positive food safety culture at CSM Bradford, where all roles and departments are actively encouraged to learn about, and play their part in, food safety management.”

Winner Simon Rees, IQMS an SAI Global Company, added: “It was such a happy surprise to find out that I achieved the joint top mark in the Highfield Level 4 HACCP last year – professional development is so important in your career, so to have it recognised within the industry is just the icing on a (hopefully very food safe!) cake. It’s a testament to the course and the trainers for getting a rigorous (but rewarding) outcome from what is seen as quite a challenging subject.”

Steve Nicholas, general manager for SAI Global’s Training Business, said: “SAI Global trains over 100,000 industry professionals every year in QHSE & Food Safety auditing and associated courses.  Awards such as Simon’s offer validation that our training products and tutors add value to businesses around the world.”