Dominic is Commercial and Technical Manager at Finnebrogue, a artisan producer of award-winning venison and pork products and was previously responsible for graduate Food Technologist recruitment for M&S.
You will need a good “tool-box” to secure that brilliant job to get you into an industry that offers great rewards and satisfaction. Here are the top 5 things I look for in graduates’ attitudes and experience:
Passion for learning
You must never stop learning. Whether it be formal training in certain accreditation standards or even just new ways of working, it is essential that foodies keep learning. IFST is a great source of learning especially those that offer CPD (continual professional development).
Focus & Specialism
Taking a generalist degree or one with limited food content may mean that you enter the industry without specific or in depth knowledge of food science. Making a choice during your degree to specify a route or choosing a degree with a clear job / discipline outcome helps secure employment.
After you graduate, you will not get a jobs as a manager. There is a ladder and it needs to be worked up. Don’t under estimate starting at the bottom, learning the basics and building on this. Show eagerness and take on extra responsibility and you will do well.
Experience Is Everything
Take up every opportunity to get as much experience both paid and unpaid during your degree. If there is opportunity for work experience then do it. Think seriously about taking a sandwich year. Most people can get a decent degree classification but what makes a CV stand out in the pile is some great experience.
There will always be a UK food industry because people don’t just eat food to survive, they eat for pleasure. Remember that you’re not making widgets but food for people to enjoy. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you see a product you worked on making it onto the shelf. Having pride in your work and a passion is what changes a job from something you turn up to do into a career and all the rewards this brings.