Imaginative Teaching Resources & Inspirational Career Ideas from the Chilled Food Industry
Lewis started with Greencore as a Group Technical Graduate in July 2016. He’s enjoying the variety offered by chilled.
What is your degree? Where did you study?
I have a first class BSc Hons degree in Food Science and Technology (with an industrial placement) from Cardiff Metropolitan University.
When do you first become interested in Food Science?
My interest in food, and Food Science, was sparked by Heston Blumenthal – in my eyes he was performing magic! I was also interested in the visual appeal of food.
Heston definitely influenced my ‘A’ level choices – Chemistry, Maths and Home Economics.
Did you have a career goal in mind when you applied for University?
No, not especially and even after my second year I still wasn’t really aware of the range of careers on offer. The site visits organised by the University covered only a limited range of jobs, there is so much more on offer – such as New Product Development (NPD) and processing.
The degree course included a 12 month industrial placement – which I spent with GSK working in Consumer Healthcare as a Formulation Scientist for their nutritional brands. While I found the placement a useful introduction to the food industry I’m finding chilled food offers much more variety.
What made you apply to Greencore after graduation?
My brother Elliot had started on the Greencore technical scheme in 2015. I know from him that the company offers its graduates a chance to experience a variety of roles and functions across the company.
Competition is fierce and they take only two graduates per year. So I was delighted to be accepted.
What does your job involve? Is it fun, interesting?
The two year graduate scheme takes place in one of the three categories; Grocery, Prepared meals and Food to Go. I’m currently working in Food to Go, at Manton Wood, a site that produces sandwiches and wraps for a multiple retailers. As a technical graduate I’m currently focussing on hygiene and quality. We are constantly alert to potential safety risks and refining our procedures to ensure the maintenance of the highest standards. I work closely with our technical services manager and am lucky to be in a ‘real’ role so I am making a contribution the running of the site.
The graduate scheme so far has allowed me to experience a range of different roles, having gained hands on experience in production to working with category Technical Executives.
Production is very fast moving and we are working with fresh ingredients with a short shelf life which can be challenging. I’m finding that I am applying learning from my degree course but that things are not always as clear as they would have been on paper at University.
What are your long term career plans?
It’s still early days for me, I’m just enjoying having the opportunity to try new things and to learn about the different departments. I just know I’ve made the right choice in starting in chilled food manufacturing.
What has prompted you to want to become a Chilled Ambassador?
My colleague Chris Roddis is big supporter of Chilled Education and he encouraged me to become an Ambassador. I’d also volunteered as an STEM ambassador with the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and really enjoyed talking to young people and encouraging them in their science studies.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about Food Science as a career?
It’s a great shame that there is a real lack of information about careers in Food Science. But this belies the fact that there are many opportunities out there. If you are at University, or looking for courses, make the more of the placement years on offer. These really get you out into industry. And look at what organisations such as the CFA and IFST are doing, they give great insights into the industry.