- Course: BSc Food Science
- Job title: Group Leader
- Company: Kerry Foods
What did you do after graduation?
I applied to Graduate Programs within large food companies and hoped for a reply whilst sunbathing in Cuba over the holidays as a well-deserved rest.
What is your current position?
I’m a Group leader in a factory producing Margarine for Kerry Foods. I am still in training on their graduate scheme currently.
What does your current role involve?
I support a team of operatives to produce quality products at the lowest cost in the best environment. The goal is to set up ‘true lean manufacturing’ on the shop floor through empowerment of the operatives.
Did having a Food Science degree help you get this job?
A Food Science degree from Leeds is respected in all areas of the Food Industry. It would have been possible to work in food management without a Food degree; however it certainly helps, as understanding the key principles of the process from start to finish is a real benefit. A Food degree is needed for many other areas such as NPD and Technical roles.
What are the links between your studies and your job?
Principles learnt in Food safety modules are applied every day because all food produced obviously needs to be safe. I also often use the basics principles of food science in problem solving meetings with NPD, technical and engineering. For example, just last week I was discussing the effectiveness of the cooling equipment on my production lines with regards to fat crystal development in margarine.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a few different highlights so far, such as, going to Holland to receive training on ‘Innovation’ within Kerry Foods on their Graduate development program and helping an operative who was a poor performer on the verge of being sacked, become a strong member of the team through understanding, motivation and trust.
How do you think that Food Science graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?
They would get the chance to develop people management skills whilst working in an environment which has a fundamental understanding of food. The Kerry Foods Graduate scheme has given me the support needed to become a leader. Kerry is a global company so a graduate could benefit with international work. Past graduates I know work in Ireland, Australia and America.
Do you think that having a food science degree is of value to employers?
Yes, what’s more, there are plenty of employers. If you apply yourself you will get a good job. I have worked for Mars and Kerry Foods, big players in the food industry. My younger sister, who also studied a food degree at Leeds is currently working at Nestle.
What made you decide to study at Leeds?
It was a mixture of course and city quality. Leeds is a fantastic city with enough variety to keep any student content. The Food science department has a world renowned reputation and the course looked diverse, fun and required one of the highest UCAS scores so I knew it would be a well-respected degree.
Did you do study abroad or an industrial placement? If so, how did you find them and what benefits would you say you gained from doing it?
I worked at Mars in the UK. Everyone that wanted a placement managed to find one. In comparison to other industries, these placements paid quite well. I found the placement online however a few companies do contact the university directly.
I gained clarity of the specific roles within large food companies. I gained a huge amount of confidence and managed to network with people who have helped me later in my career. Most importantly, I realised I wanted to be on a graduate scheme as I take my career and self-development seriously and wanted to be given the support to progress quickly.