Imaginative Teaching Resources & Inspirational Career Ideas from the Chilled Food Industry
Rosie’s curiosity to find out how things are made, combined with an interest in healthy foods, have brought her to a ‘dream job’ as Technical Compliance Co-ordinator at Natures Way Foods.
What is your degree? Where did you study?
I did a four year Food Science degree at University College Dublin.
I have a Leaving Certificate (‘A’ level equivalent) in agricultural science. This is different from the traditional physics, chemistry and biology ‘A’ Level options but has not hindered me in my career so far. The agricultural science has proved to be very useful in my work. The course included a 6 month laboratory-based placement. It was a good experience but it taught me that I didn’t enjoy lab work and need to be outside.
When did you join NWF?
I graduated in May 2016 and joined NWF in June that year.
What made you apply to Natures Way Foods after graduation?
After graduating I looked for jobs online and NWF was an obvious choice. I’m especially interested in healthy foods and the products – salads, fruit pots and healthy meal options appealed to me. I also read that it is a very happy company. I applied for a role (advertised on LinkedIn) which I didn’t get but I was offered another role a few weeks later and I jumped at the chance. I now have my dream job.
What does your job involve? Is it fun, interesting?
When I first joined the company I worked on pesticides but my role quickly developed into technical compliance and I now carry out audits to ensure that suppliers are meeting guidelines for quality and food safety. This involves visiting suppliers and I travel to Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and other places. I’m also training new employees and carrying out allergen training.
My role is expanding all the time and I absolutely love it. I’ve been offered some brilliant opportunities and been happy to take them on. When I started here I had no idea I’d get involved in auditing, I really enjoy it. NWF are very keen on training and developing its staff, so if you are eager to learn and willing to work you will be given every opportunity to develop. If you don’t enjoy one area there are alternatives to try.
I’d read very positive things about the company, but it’s exceeded my expectations. I moved from Ireland knowing no one in the company, nor in this part of the UK, but I feel I’m having a great adventure and my work colleagues are now my best friends!
When do you first become interested in Food Science?
From an early age I enjoyed learning about, and trying, different foods. I’m curious to know where food comes from and how it’s made. Food Science was my first choice for a degree.
Did you have a career goal in mind when you applied for University?
I knew I wanted to work in food. The first year at university was very broad, this was fine as it gave us the chance to look at the options. I realised that food would also give me the chance to travel.
What are your long term career plans?
My ambitions are to develop within NWFL – perhaps working in a areas such as New Product Development (NPD). We’re encouraged to look at options within the company so I will make the most of those. I’d also like to do a Masters degree.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about Food Science as a career?
There’s a general perception that all science jobs require you to wear a white coat and work in a laboratory. This is not true. There are so many opportunities – from NPD to packaging design and marketing, as well as technical and microbiology.
I’d encourage students to talk to people in the industry, take any opportunities that might come your way. If you don’t like one area you can always move to another.
Through my work as a STEM Ambassador I’m encouraging others to follow me into the industry. I want my positive experience to inspire others.