Practical fish frying skills can be assessed remotely

Richard Wardell, Seafish Onshore Training Advisor, analyses how practical assessments have been adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s not only the way that we learn that has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic but also how we conduct assessments and exams. A great example of this modified approach is with the jointly awarded Seafish and National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Fish Frying Skills qualification. Owing to the technology that is available, the qualification can be assessed remotely without the assessor stepping foot inside the candidate’s fish and chip shop.

In 2019, I worked with Mark Drummond who was representing the NFFF, to update the learning and assessment materials. The alterations reflected the fact that many shops now use ready-prepared chips and fry using high efficiency ranges. There is more focus on sustainability and the health aspects of frying medium. By 2020, fish friers were being assessed utilising these revised materials. Then the world was turned upside down by the coronavirus.

Both we and the NFFF were keen to find a new way for the assessments to be conducted. Following several planning discussions, Mark conducted the first two pilot remote assessments with John and Dayton. They work at the award-winning Miller’s Fish & Chips in Haxby near York. Using Facetime, Mark was able to evaluate the preparation and cooking skills of both fish friers on separate days. Also, I invigilated the 40-question online multiple-choice exams for both learners using Zoom.

Owner of Miller’s Fish & Chips, David Miller said:

“Both the assessment of the practical skills along with the multiple-choice exam were completed with remarkable ease. The key to successful remote assessments is planning and having a good internet connection. John and Dayton both felt comfortable with this method of assessment which was new to them.”
David Miller, Miller's Fish & Chips

These remote assessments allow fish friers to be assessed safely in their own working environment. The learner can study the learning materials where and when they want to and at a pace that suits them. There are also benefits for the assessor as they save on both travel time and travel costs.

Jonathan France has owned the Fish Bank in Sherburn In Elmet for 18 months. In that time, he has had to adapt his business operations due to the pandemic. He realised that he could improve his skills and knowledge by studying for the Fish Frying Skills qualification. In January 2021 he was awarded with his certificate by the NFFF. He says:

“I learnt a lot from the two self-study workbooks. Being assessed by award-winning fish frier Ashley Phillips of Shap Chippy was great. He made me relax and the technology for completing the exam was easy to use. I would encourage other fish friers to undertake this valuable industry qualification.”
Jonathan France, owner of Fish Bank
Jonathan France, fish frier, holding training certificate
Jonathan France, owner of Fish Bank

If you or one of your colleagues would like to register for the qualification, please contact Helen Brook at the NFFF on 0113 3208276 or email