Richard Sprenger attends 18th Convocation of COTHM Pakistan & Dubai

Highfield Chairman Richard Sprenger was delighted to accept the invitation of COTHM Pakistan and Dubai to attend its 18th convocation on Saturday 29 September as chief guest.

The invitation comes on the back of a 2017 agreement between Highfield and COTHM, which saw the School of Food Safety and Health established, with the ultimate goal of improving food safety in Pakistan. The agreement means that COTHM offers the full suite of Highfield’s food safety qualifications.

The convocation saw a total of 200 students awarded qualifications in various programmes including hospitality, culinary arts, and travel and tourism management, and was attended by educationists, hospitality industry professionals, dignitaries, journalists and graduating students and their parents.

At the event Richard spoke passionately about the vision of COTHM and Highfield, stating that the college is ‘not just an academic institution but an idea and a vision’. He went on to say, ‘COTHM does not just prepare graduates with market-driven skills but produces graduates who are able to discover their own identity and serve the hospitality, travel and tourism industry in the true sense of the word.

The convocation saw COTHM CEO Mr Ahmad Shafiq delivered an address that highlighted the desire to expand internationally. The recent establishment of a campus in Dubai, UAE, will be followed by expansion into the wider MENA region. The partnership with Highfield plays a part in enabling COTHM students to access a global education network and provides them with the skills and qualifications necessary to operate at a top level within the international hospitality trade.

Speaking about his visit to COTHM, Richard commented, ‘It was a pleasure to be invited as a guest of honour and to speak at the convocation which saw 200 potential leaders of the hospitality industry graduate. Our work with COTHM is helping to inform food safety to a new generation and shows the regard with which Highfield qualifications are held internationally.’



Lord-Lieutenant marks Doncaster business’s Queen’s awards

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Mr Andrew Coombe, The Queen’s personal representative, was on official duty this October as he marked a Doncaster-based business’s achievement of the Queen’s Award.

Directors from the Highfield Group were presented with a crystal bowl and commemorative certificate signed by the Queen and Prime Minister at an official presentation held at the organisation’s offices on 20 October 2016.

And guests, which included civic dignitaries, business leaders and VIPs, were treated to a performance by a choir from New College, Worcester, a school for blind and partially sighted children, on behalf of Highfield’s chosen charity, Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA).


(L-R) Chris Sprenger (Managing Director), Richard Sprenger (Chairman), Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Mr Andrew Coombe, Jayne Sprenger, Jason Sprenger (Chief Executive).

The Highfield Group, one of the UK’s leading education organisations, was announced as the winner of the award as part of the national celebrations to celebrate HM The Queen’s 90th birthday on 21 April.

Queen’s Award winners are chosen by a panel that includes the Prime Minister and leading figures from government and industry, making it one of the most sought after accolades for British businesses.

Highfield, which has three offices across Doncaster and employs over 200 staff, is the UK and Middle East’s leading suppliers of compliance, apprenticeship and work-based learning qualifications, training materials and e-learning.

It is one of the UK’s largest exam boards, and is actively involved in the development of the UK workforce and productivity, as well as contributing to government plans for three million apprenticeships by 2020.

The organisation, which has its headquarters on Heavens Walk, works with some of the biggest names in international business to help develop their staff, including PepsiCo, Nestle, Marks & Spencer and Superdrug, and each year supports over 2 million learners across the globe to achieve their educational aspirations.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield Chief Executive, said, ‘This is a great achievement for Highfield, and I was honoured to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and accept the certificate and crystal bowl on behalf of the business and everyone here who has worked so hard to achieve it’.

Representatives from Highfield received the award in person from Her Majesty at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 14 July 2016, with this further presentation held to celebrate the achievement alongside colleagues, customers and partners.

For more information on Highfield, go to

For more on the Queen’s Award, go to

Highfield Chairman Richard Sprenger at Food Chain 2014

Food ChainHighfield Chairman Richard Sprenger recently made an appearance as one of the guest speakers at Food Chain 2014, focussing on the issue of food safety culture.

Held in Doha, Qatar, on 29 and 30 September 2014, the Food Chain conference is now in its seventh year and is becoming increasingly a focal point for food safety experts in the Middle East, with attendance by key government figures and prominent representatives of the top businesses in the region, including HABC MEA.

FoodChain Doha1This year the focus was to further the cause of cold chain infrastructure in the country and its impact on health and well-being, in line with the development ideals of Qatar National Vision 2030, through plenary sessions on food safety-related policies and legislation, presentations (including video presentations), panel discussions, structured networking and cluster discussions.

Richard Sprenger said, ‘The conference is unique because it merges cold chain integrity with topical food safety issues in Doha. We all need to take the opportunity presented in the Food Chain conference in Doha to discuss how we can ensure sustainable improvements that result in developing and maintaining a positive food safety culture’.

New international qualifications in development

HABC LogoA number of qualifications are being developed specifically for the international market.

Covering a number of sectors, the qualifications are being created by HABC’s subject matter experts and qualification development team. Launch dates will be in late 2014 and early 2015, with specific details available from the HABC website nearer the time.

The qualifications currently under development are:

  • L3 International Certificate in Close Protection;
  • L1 International Award in Safe Moving and Handling;
  • Level 2 International Award in Paediatric First Aid (1 day);
  • Level 2 International Award in Paediatric First Aid (2 day);
  • Level 2 International Award in Advanced First Aid at Work;
  • Level 2 International Award in Emergency First Aid at Work;
  • Level 1 International Award in Food Safety;
  • Level 2 International Award in Food Safety;
  • Level 3 International Award in Food Safety;
  • Level 1 International Award in Fire Safety Awareness;
  • Level 2 International Award in Fire Safety;
  • Level 1 International Award in Health and Safety; and
  • Level 2 International Award in Health and Safety.

For more information, contact Grant Coleby, Qualification Manager.

HABC MEA holds hazard identification update

HABC MEA has been helping managers involved in construction, health and safety and project management in the Middle East understand more about the importance of identifying hazards in controlling workplace accidents.

Paul Coates, HABC MEA Operations Manager, conducted a 3-hour session on the subject to over 30 delegates from various companies at the Amari Doha Hotel on 8 December 2013.

The seminar was organised by the Vibrant Consultancy WLL, Doha, Qatar, on behalf of a campaign by Arabtec Construction Company – one of the region’s leading construction firms – to raise awareness of hazard identification.

The delegates were welcomed by Mr P. Shaji, Project HSE Manager (Arabtec), who discussed the campaign and emphasised the need for further seminars to create awareness amongst employees.

Throughout the seminar, contributions were made by a number of leading industry figures from the region, included Mr Fadi Al Bashir, Project Manager (Arabtec), who opened the event, and Mr Benjamin, HSE Manager (Turner International LLC Middle East) and Mr H.V. Nair, Project Manager (Gulf Civil Engineering and Construction Company), who both spoke on the topic.

HABC MEA and Arabtec were both thanked for the seminar by Mr Santosh Kumar Pillai, Director of Vibrant Consultancy. Mr Santosh also thanked Highfield HABC MEA and Paul Coates in particular for their ongoing support for making the industry in the region safer for employees.

And finally there was thanks for Mr Jithin Chakkooth, Operations Manager at Vibrant Consultancy, without whom the event would not have happened.

For more information on the work of HABC MEA, go to the website.

Richard Sprenger leads food safety seminar in Bahrain

Highfield Chairman Richard Sprenger recently led a food safety seminar in Bahrain to consider ways in which food safety could be improved, having regard to several world leading initiatives that Highfield and Richard have been involved with.

Hosted by the Leaders institute for Training and Development, the seminar, entitled ‘Food Safety in Bahrain’ was held at the Diplomat Hotel on 19 August 2014, and attracted some of the leading representatives from the food industry as well as Ministry representatives, food safety specialists and practitioners from across the country.

Key topics covered were the latest best practice internationally and in particular, how Bahrain can learn from other nations. Delegates got the chance to share their thoughts and experiences, and discuss the daily challenges they face.

Richard Sprenger said, ‘The seminar was an excellent opportunity to discuss some of the most important food safety issues currently affecting food businesses in Bahrain and why food safety is so important for local consumers and tourism’.

For more information on the work of HABC MEA go to the website.

Keynote speech for Highfield Chairman at international conference

food safety conference in BahrainHighfield Group Chairman Richard Sprenger will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Food Safety Conference in Bahrain.

The event, held from 15 to 17 April 2014 and now in its second year, saw delegates from the food and hospitality sectors around the globe descend on the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre for a series of presentations, forums, demonstrations and discussions in food safety.

Delegates also got the chance to attend a number of HABC workshops on its qualifications including the Level 3 Award in Effective Auditing and Inspection Skills, the Level 2 Award in HACCP for Catering, the Level 2 Award in Food Safety for Catering and the Level 2 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work.

It was the second major speech for the Highfield Chairman this year, who in January 2014 had spoken at a seminar in Doha, Qatar about the importance of a ‘person in charge (PIC)’ in implementing good food safety measures – something that has already happened in Dubai with help of HABC.

‘PICs must ensure that food handlers are trained about hygiene before they start work,’ said Richard.  ‘They must also ensure that their food suppliers are registered and approved by appropriate authorities in order to trace the origin of any food contamination’.

For more information on HABC’s work in the Middle East, go to