Westminster Nutrition Society – careers and employability event

Posted on: 9 March 2015
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The Westminster Nutrition Society (WNS) had an annual Careers and Employability event on Wednesday 25 February 2015, in the Pavilion at Cavendish Campus. The event was well attended by students studying on nutrition courses. Five external guest speakers were invited for the afternoon to speak about their experiences, their careers and the opportunities available for students.

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The afternoon started off with the Human Nutrition BSc Honours Course Leader, Dr Ihab Tewik introducing the event and welcoming both guests, students and staff. Leonie Milliner, the Chief Executive from Association for Nutrition (AfN) started the afternoon off speaking about the AfN, what is it, the process of being a registered nutritionist after graduating and how students can become involved in a variety of opportunities. As a registered charity, the AfN was launched in June 2010 with the prime purpose of protecting the public and at the same time to collectively influence inter-professional relations with other professionals. Since the Human Nutrition course at Westminster is accredited by the AfN, students automatically become Associated Nutritionists (ANutr) after graduating by registering within two years. Not every university gives this opportunity to their students and this is an example of how the University prepares students to become health professionals upon graduating.

Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE annually gives lectures to Human Nutrition students on one of the modules. Having done a lot in her science career, Dr Ashwell spoke about her scientific research and the importance of scientific communications to the students. Inspiring us with her vast knowledge of science over the years, Dr Ashwell ended the talk by giving some advice to students on how to succeed “if your results don’t make physiological sense, think: you may have made a mistake or you may have made a discovery”.

The event welcomed another speaker, Dr Linda Thomas, Science Director from Yakult UK Ltd. It was interesting to hear how Dr Thomas started off as a microbiologist and eventually became a Science Director. Speaking about her career experiences and the challenges she went through, it was fascinating to know how knowing people working in the industry has led her to find opportunities and giving her the experience to seek what is out there. As well as sharing her challenges, she gave advice to students on what employers look for during the recruitment process. Standing out from the crowd, being enthusiastic and demonstrating relevant skills are just a few good examples.

Helena Gibson-Moore, a Nutrition Scientist from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) was the next speaker after a break. From a small charity based in London, she spoke introduced the charity and how the BNF offers opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and skills through conferences, internships and membership. The last speaker of the day was Mark Hollingsworth, CEO of The Nutrition Society. It was interesting to hear he came from Air Force and how his career has progressed to end up in his current role.

Attendees were given an explanation of The Nutrition Society and how becoming a member of the society gives members four different types of opportunity: knowledge, support, development and networking. It was inspiring to know that for only £20 a year, student members can have access to these opportunities.

The afternoon ended with a session of networking between staff, students and guest speakers. The event was a success and all students enjoyed the afternoon, knowing that there are opportunities for students to expand their networks, knowledge and skills whilst studying at the University of Westminster.

“A great opportunity to hear and learn from key professionals in the field of nutrition at what was a well attended event” (Colette Hurst, President of Westminster Nutrition Society).

For more information about the Westminster Nutrition Society or would like to join (membership is free), please contact them at nutrition.soc@su.westminster.ac.uk or follow them on Twitter: @NutSocUWSU (During the afternoon, there was LIVE tweeting using hashtag #UoWNutrition)

By Kiu Sum, first year student, BSc Honours Human Nutrition

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