Imaginative Teaching Resources & Inspirational Career Ideas from the Chilled Food Industry
Tessa Herbert joined Greencore in June 2018. Her curiosity about how food is manufactured led her into the chilled industry and she’s finding the fast pace suits her very well.
What did you study?
I studied Maths, Biology and Food Technology at ‘A’ level and then did a BSc Hons in Food Science and Technology at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
The degree course in Cardiff looked absolutely fascinating and really lived up to my expectations. It included a year out in industry and I worked as a technical assistant for a small bakery manufacture (Four Anjels) in the Cotswolds. This gave me great experience.
Did you have a career goal in mind when you were at school?
I enjoyed studying Food Technology at GCSE level and was especially interested in nutrition so I was pleased to be able to continue to study Food Science at ‘A’ level. It was then that I realised that Food Science is more than just New Product Development and I became more interested in the science elements. That really got my brain working.
I’d always been interested food, as a child I was captivated by the TV programme ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’ and from around aged 10 manufacturing especially fascinated me. Programmes such as ‘Food Unwrapped’ really grabbed my attention and my parents had worked for GSK who owned Lucozade and Ribena at the time so I knew roughly how the industry is set up.
What made you apply to Greencore?
I’d looked at a number of graduate schemes and the fast pace of chilled food appealed to me. It contrasts well with the bakery experience during my degree, where there are longer shelf-lives. But I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do, so the variety of the Greencore graduate scheme really caught my attention.
What does your job involve? Is it fun, interesting?
I’ll be moving around Greencore but at the moment I’m with the UK Centre in the Project Lifecycle Management Team. I’m focussing on the technical side for the first year of the scheme and am not sure where the 2nd year will take me. But I’m enjoying visiting all the sites and really getting involved.
It’s great to be nurtured by colleagues who are happy to share their experience. We go to meetings, receive training (the highlight of my time so far was getting my level 4 HACCP in my first week with Greencore) and are really chucked in at the deep end – but I cannot be more grateful!
I’m also involved in training through the IGD Feeding Britain’s Future project.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about Food Science as a career?
Many of the jobs on offer are with companies that are ‘anonymous’, supplying food to big name retailers under their own brand labels. So, do your research (the CFA website is a good starting point with its list of member companies).
You need to be genuinely interested in the subject. It’s hard work. The industry is more technical than you might first think and the technical team are often in the hot seat so you need a passion to succeed.
Get in early to the graduate schemes, be on your game and tailor your CVs. Grab every opportunity whether it’s a year out or summer school. It’s all valuable experience.
I’m enjoying learning all the time. The HACCP training in week one was a highlight. This could be described as a hidden industry and I’m now discovering it for myself and being part of it. I’m living my own ‘Food Unwrapped’!
Describe your chilled career so far in two words…..
Stimulating and satisfying