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Placement year helps scholar decide on career path

Posted 25 May 2017

"Now that I’ve done my placement year, I’ve developed a passion and interest for the meat industry."

Susan with Ted Hoefling, BDCI treasurer

Susan O’Neill from Magherafelt, County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, started with a passion for cooking which has now led to her wishing to gain a career in the meat production industry.

The BSc Food and Consumer Studies student has received a Butchers and Drovers Charitable Institution (BDCI) bursary to help fund additional courses and her dissertation which she hopes will assist her into the industry.

The 21 year-old student said: “Prior to starting placement I was unsure of what sector I wanted to enter within food manufacturing. However, now that I’ve done my placement year, I’ve developed a passion and interest for the meat industry.

“For my placement, I worked for the Foyle Food Group where my main role was within the technical function. This allowed me to gain a comprehensive insight to meat production.

“Before starting with the group, I was unsure about how I felt about the industry, but now I’ve worked in it first hand, and seen the immaculate standards required by law and through welfare schemes such as Red Tractor, I’m whole heartedly convinced that the UK provide excellent standards of meat production.

“During my placement with the group, I saw all stages of production. I learnt the importance of lean management to increase yields and the vital role slaughterhouse and boning staff play in the supply of commercially produced meat to retail giants.

“I also learnt the importance of supporting UK meat production. I feel proud that the UK can produce excellent quality of meat produce.

“My ambition to study BSc Food and Consumer Studies came from my passion for cooking and finding my creativity in the kitchen.

“From there my interest in larger scale production and the science behind creating quality products became apparent. This is an interest which I discussed with my home economics teacher and careers advisor. After a guest speaker from Harper arrived at school to deliver a talk on the university, my mind was made up; Harper was definitely the place to be.”

On receiving a BDCI bursary, Susan said: “This bursary will make a huge difference to me for many reasons; the main being the financial freedom to carry out my final year studies.

“I’m also going to use the money to further improve my personal portfolio by enrolling on educational courses, such as Level 3 HACCP and Level 3 Food Hygiene and Safety for Manufacturing.”

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