Helen Norfolk

Helen Norfolk

What did you do after graduation?

Almost immediately I started work at The Co-operative Group as a Labelling Standards Officer, within the Quality Assurance and Customer Care department – a role which had been advertised through the university careers service.

What is your current position?

I am a Technologist within the Trading Law team at NSF-CMi.

What does your current role involve?

I work with a number of clients providing technical support and food law advice. Technical support has included helping clients write retailer specifications and quality assurance documents. Food law advice involves checking manufacturer or retail specifications and artwork to ensure they comply with both national and EU legislation, and the relevant client policies. I work from home, travelling to clients and meetings as required, and enjoy the flexibility that this gives me.I have recently started to run training courses, training delegates on how to use web-based specification systems.

Did having a Food Science degree help you get this job?

Yes, it was a pre-requisite for my initial job, and subsequent jobs have stipulated a preference for Food Science graduates.

What are the links between your studies and your job?

The knowledge of the food industry, ingredients and diet and health which I gained whilst studying for my degree has been very useful. Especially as I work on a wide variety of products, and have always had a desk based job rather than a manufacturing role.

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

A role like mine is a good option if the more typical food science graduate careers within manufacturing or labs aren’t for you.

Do you think that having a food science degree is of value to employers?

Yes, retailers and manufacturers are becoming more and more demanding in terms of technical detail, quality of their products and nutritional requirements. All these factors link back to the science behind food.

What made you decide to study at Leeds?

The good reputation of the food science department, and the opportunity to live and study within a vibrant city with a large population of fellow students.

Any favourite memories of studying at Leeds?

Lots of great memories and lifelong friendships were made during my time in Leeds. Practicals involving making bread, sausages and sweets were good fun!

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 did a 6 month placement at British Sugar Technical Centre in Norwich during my third year. I did research on applications of the different sugar products in their range, and made a lot of pavlovas! It was helpful to have experience to draw on during job interviews, and made me realise that a career in research wasn’t what I wanted to pursue.