Gravy training: how Solina revolutionised their workforce development

Solina Group is a manufacturer of high-quality savoury food products, including gravies and sauces for a range of premium food brands.

A diverse team of factory workers, chefs and flavourists operates across the UK to develop and deliver bespoke products for Solina customers.

In 2019 the Solina management team pinpointed an opportunity to overhaul their workforce's training and CPD management with a dedicated electronic tool.

Training Manager by Qualsys was implemented to centralise and digitise Solina's training processes.

We interviewed Managing Director Adam Jones, Site Leader Heather Wilde and HR Manager Marlena Lesak about the project.





The importance of training


Everything we do in this business, all the success we have, comes from training.

                                                                                                 - Adam Jones, Managing Director, Solina Group


Solina identified the training and continued professional development of their workforce as the key differentiator and business strength in a competitive food industry.

Complex and time-heavy manual spreadsheets proved to be nonoptimal, and in 2019 the Solina senior management team began scoping an electronic training management system to achieve 3 key objectives:

1. To simplify/centralise storage of employee training records with an integrated digital platform

2. To eliminate compliance burden and allow quick and easy tracking of employee competence for BRC, HACCP and food safety requirements

3. To support the company's people-first approach by empowering all employees to own and manage their own development pathway


Training Manager by Qualsys was identified as the optimal solution to manage the Group's entire training operation, from office and factory to chef roadshow.


Solina Training Manager



Ownership and empowerment


We want to empower our people to be the best that they can be.

Part of that is to really get people to take ownership of their own training, their own development.

The best people and the future leaders are the people who take control of their destiny now and go through a training path that they've decided on, that hasn't been forced on them.

                                                                                                   - Heather Wilde, Site Leader, Essential Cuisine


Solina Group operates a zero-harm, CPD-led and self-empowering business culture. 

A centrally accessible training platform with unlimited free end users allows all Solina staff to manage their own training pathway, from scheduling courses to reviewing training sessions and uploading certificates. 

Moving away from a spreadsheet controlled by the HR department, Solina can now use Training Manager for a central cloud-based gateway, for every employee to build and track their own CPD journey.


The Training Manager module will support the ongoing changes we're going through as a business.

Basically empowering people to take ownership of their career, their development, their training, even their money - because in certain functions training drives the raise as well.  

                                                                                                 - Marlena Lesak, UK HR Manager, Solina Group


Empowering employees with training control also offers a range of wider business benefits, including:

  • Boosted workplace satisfaction and employee retention
  • Higher efficiency and production value
  • Fewer mistakes, incidents and accidents
  • Higher quality product and improved customer satisfaction

Solina factory


Automatic compliance 

The food industry demands a range of quality and compliance requirements, from HACCP and BRC 8 to general safety, quality, hygiene and process competence. 

It was crucial for Solina to implement a system which automatically flagged any outdated or obsolete employee training, and scheduled fresh and updated courses.


If someone's First Aid certificate's run out, if one of our chefs is on the road and demoing at shows and their food hygiene certificate's expired, we need an automatic flag rather than relying on someone to tell us.

It doesn't matter what area they're in - this system will help us be more efficient in tracking where we're up to across the whole business.

                                                                                                   - Heather Wilde, Site Leader, Essential Cuisine


A central colour-coded training matrix gives Solina management at-a-glance visibility of competence strengths and gaps, easing compliance burden with automatic prompts and reminders and allowing more proactive control of any skill set, from manual handling and forklift training to hygiene and HACCP.

And custom quizzes allow understanding and competence to be tested after each course.


Solina training matrix


Why did we choose EQMS?

It was the scale of functionality that was absolutely critical to us. We could user-define it and make it appropriate to our business, plus the interaction and style of the system is very user-friendly.

We have hundreds and hundreds of procedures we need to include in the platform for basic compliance.  

Having a tool that encapsulates all that in one system is absolutely perfect. EQMS was one of the only ones we found that gave us that breadth and depth.  

                                                                                                 - Adam Jones, Managing Director, Solina Group



Solina logo


Next steps

Learn more about the Training Manager module with our free modular datasheet:


training records manager datasheet

Topics: Training Record Software, Food Safety Management, Case Studies, Training

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