Imaginative Teaching Resources & Inspirational Career Ideas from the Chilled Food Industry
Beth is a Technical Graduate with Greencore, she works at the company’s Boston site which specialises in salads, pasta salads and prepared vegetables. She joined Greencore in 2019 as an undergraduate and returned in 2021 as a graduate.
What is your degree? Where did you study?
I have a degree in BSc (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition from the University of Leeds. It was a four year course with a year out in industry on a placement with the Co-op which was sponsored by Greencore.
When do you first become interested in Food Science?
It was when I was taking my GCSE in Food Technology. I had some inspirational teachers, Mrs Pankhurst and Mrs Gosling, who pointed me towards food science as a career. Up until that point I had no idea about such opportunities. This put me on the science path with my A levels and I took Home Economics, Biology and Chemistry
Did you have a career goal in mind when you applied for university?
I had no idea but the placement year gave me experience in the technical function, both manufacturing and retail. It also allowed me to see how other functions such as product development, finance and operations linked together. I knew after my placement year that a role within technical was the route I wanted to pursue.
What made you apply to your company after graduation?
Having worked for Greencore on my placement year I knew they had a Graduate Scheme on offer. I loved working for them so it felt right to apply for the graduate scheme with a good reputation. I also knew that I loved the fast pace of working in chilled so wanted to learn more about this area if I could
What does your job involve? Is it fun, interesting?
On the graduate scheme I get to move around, I am based at Boston for my first year. It’s so varied, because the site is quite small but very busy I get involved in a wide range of work. That means everything from Quality Assurance, to hygiene to auditing to microbiology. I have specific projects I’m working on, for example at the moment I’m developing clearer cleaning instruction cards for our production line.
We supply to all the major retailers and so I’ve also been involved in meeting them.
As our foods are always developing (for example with new vegan lines) there is always something to learn and I feel I am able to apply my academic knowledge and experience to my everyday work. I get exposed to so many opportunities, and so much training, its great.
I feel part of the team and my ideas and work are valued.
What are your long term career plans?
I want to progress as far as I can in technical, hopefully staying in chilled food.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about Food Science as a career?
Don’t hesitate – go for it! It’s a big industry with lots of potential, wherever your interests may lie.
Plus there are also really useful networks, and people are always happy to help and support you. I remember meeting Karin Goodburn (CFA Director) at a SUSSLE training session with the Co-Op and CFA sponsored the University of Leeds Summer School that I helped with whilst I was a student ambassador at university. It’s a small world with big opportunities!
Anything else to add?
Don’t underestimate the importance of any work experience or placements – any experience is a huge bonus in this competitive industry.