School of Food Science and Nutrition

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Savvas Xystouris

MSc in Food Science and Nutrition

The good knowledge of food Chemistry and "Chemical food safety module of my Master’s taught program was extremely important in further understanding of my role."

Lauren Rigby

BSc Food Studies and Nutrition

What did you do after graduation?
After graduation I knew that Nutrition was the career path that I wanted to go down, and therefore applied for a graduate scheme with St Helens Council. The graduate scheme was within the Environmental Health and Trading Standards section and was focused on Nutrition and Public Health.

What is your current position?
I have recently completed the 12 month graduate scheme in Nutrition and Public Health with St Helens Council. After working with dieticians throughout this graduate scheme I now feel that this is the career which I wish to pursue. I am therefore currently applying to do a Masters within Nutrition and Health to broaden my knowledge in the area further, enabling me then to continue onto a Postgraduates Nutrition and Dietetics course.

What did the scheme involve?
The graduate scheme involved taking the lead in running a Early Years Healthy Food Award, which included advising nursery and school settings on recommended nutrient requirements. The award scheme also included me using nutritional analysis software (DietPlan 6) to analyse menus and recipes to ensure requirements within the community were being met, and if this was not the case I was in charge of ensuring the correct changes were made to the recipes to meet the recommended guidelines.  In my 12 month scheme I was thrilled to be able to claim that every nursery setting within the borough met the nutritional guidelines after working with me on their recipes. All of this work was carried out alongside community dieticians, community food workers and the environmental health food safety team. Throughout my 12 month graduate scheme I also offered assistance in delivering effective CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) Food Safety and Healthy Foods and Special Diets training. This training was delivered to community groups to enhance the awareness of nutrition and health. Towards the end of my graduate scheme I was also involved in working in partnership with St Helens and Halton Primary Care Trust on forming action plans related to the Obesity Strategy Group. This included assisting in a hot food takeaway nutrition pilot project, whereby we watched the cooking process in hot food takeaway establishments and analysed the recipe using our nutritional analysis software, and made amendments to the recipes to create a more nutritionally balanced dish.

Did having a food science degree help you get this job?
There is no question about it, if I did not have a degree within food science I would never have been able to get this job. They were looking for an individual with knowledge in nutrition and food science, and completing my degree at Leeds gave me an in depth knowledge of food science with emphasis on the nutritional and biological themes, alongside a background understanding of food processing, chemistry and physical sciences.

What are the links between your studies and your job?
The knowledge I gained throughout my studies in relation to nutrition and food science was incredible. My strong interest within the area and the phenomenal teaching from all the lecturers within Food Science enabled me to learn so much with regards to nutrition and its effects on health. I feel that the skills and knowledge I gained throughout my University experience have enabled me to pursue the career in Nutrition, which I have wanted for so long.

How do you think that Food Science graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?

A career in Nutrition and Public Health is so rewarding in every way. During University and since graduating it has shown me how much influence nutrition can have on health, and it is such an overwhelming and rewarding feeling knowing that your knowledge of nutrition and its effects on health can benefit somebody. Dietetics and Nutrition is very competitive and your interest and enthusiasm into continually learning should be strong, as you will find that nutritionally scientific research is continually changing.

Do you think that having a food science degree is of value to employers?
Without a doubt, having a degree within Food Science is of such value to employers. The fact that you cover so many scientific areas during the course, means that you broaden your knowledge in many ways.