News story

Virtual College’s Food and Drinks Industry return to work survey highlights major concerns

Ilkley Learning NewsVirtual College by Netex

Virtual College received over 350 responses to a survey sent to people working in the food and drinks industry to establish their views on their imminent return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screen capture from the online course
Screen capture from the online course 

The respondents broadly fitted into these three segments, catering, retail and manufacturing. The key concerns were: how are businesses going to be profitable, how will they have access to adequate PPE, and how will the return to work be safe for both for themselves and their customers.

Almost all those who completed the survey said their companies would be changing their policies and procedures due to COVID-19. 71% felt that their business or employer is prepared to return to work safely, however over 60% were concerned about their safety in returning to work, with social distancing in the workplace being the main concern.

81% of business owners are concerned about profits not returning to normal, including 64% of food manufacturers. In food catering, 64.5% of people are quite or very concerned about the safety of customers or guests and 69% are quite or very concerned about the safety of themselves and colleagues.

PPE was also of high concern with 87% in catering, 92% in manufacturing and 86% in retail feeling that it is quite or very important that they have access to adequate PPE.

To provide information and suggest best practice for businesses in the current climate, Virtual College have supplied over 150,000 free COVID-19 courses. In response to concerns raised from the survey, they have now introduced three courses aimed at helping the food industry return to work and an additional three courses aimed at helping non-food industry businesses return to work. These are the six courses:

  • Safe return to work: food catering
  • Safe return to work: food retail
  • Safe return to work: food manufacturing
  • Safe return to work: office
  • Safe return to work: retail
  • Safe return to work: manufacturing

Aimed at both employers and employees, these online courses help answer questions around the measures needed to be put in place to make sure everyone feels safe. They cover areas such as policies, procedures, training, terminology and how to plan and risk assess the work environment.

Using the government guidance and providing best practice advice, they help you find a way of returning to work safely.

For more information on these courses, please visit the following web pages:

For food courses -

For non-food courses -