On 21 April 2020, the Dairy Component team of the Swiss-Ukrainian Project “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (hereinafter referred to as the Program) launched a series of online trainings in risk assessment in the format “trainings-on-the-job” for the specialists of the Risk Assessment Unit of the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection (hereinafter referred to as the SSUFSCP) and experts of the Risk Assessment Expert Group of the General Directorate for Food Safety within the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture (hereinafter referred to as the MDETAU). The specialists of the Directorate of Public Health and Animal Welfare and Directorate of Food Safety of the SSUFSCP, experts of the Food Safety Expert Group and Animal Health Expert Group of the MDETAU also joined the trainings.
The selected concept “trainings-on-the-job” combines theoretical material with practical skill acquisition. This training method allows the participants to gain specific practical knowledge which they will use to fulfil their work tasks.
As both risk assessment units have already had first tasks from their managers, the main aim of this series of trainings is providing necessary knowledge and practical guidance for the real risk assessments.
Each training is devoted to certain steps according to the risk assessment methodology, nonetheless, the needs for certain topics are discussed with the participants. Thus, the first training, which was held on 21-24 April, was focused on framing risk questions. As the trainings are held in an online format, the participants were first suggested to take the introductory course in using Cisco WebEx as well as Google Classroom application; the latter is used for practical homework and is a place where all training materials are stored.
The technical part of the trainings was devoted to the key aspects of framing risk questions during which the participants considered a lot of practical examples of risk assessment. Apart from the theoretical course, the participants had homework to practice their skills in framing different types of risk questions. All the homework results were analyzed together with the Program experts – Manon Schuppers and Marco De Nardi (SAFOSO AG) and the aspects to pay attention to while framing a risk questions were defined. The Ministry and competent authority specialists involved in the training noted that the task was useful, and after the discussion they understood what to pay attention to in order to frame a risk question correctly. The theoretical and practical knowledge gained were used by the specialists immediately to frame risk questions for their real risk assessments.
The second round of trainings was held on 5, 12 and 15 May and covered the next step in risk assessment, in particular, development of the risk pathway and defining data needs. This training structure was similar to the previous one: having heard the theoretical material, the participants had homework to practice the knowledge gained. After the analysis of homework results, they proceeded to development of the risk pathways and defining data needs for real risk assessments.
At the end of the training, the next steps were discussed, and it was decided that the series of trainings will be continued after the risk pathways and data needs are finalized.