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Joanna Lacey

When did you graduate? Joanna Lacey

I graduated from the Food Science and Nutrition degree in 2009 with a second class honours degree.

In my final year of university, not only did I spend plenty of time in the Library but I started looking for job opportunities in the food and nutrition industry and mid-year I was applying for all sorts of graduate schemes across the country.

What did you do after you graduated?

Towards the end of my final year, I came across a job advertisement for a local community based food initiative running from a small charity working with children, called Kids’ Cafe. I had really taken advantage of the services available at Northumbria in relation to ‘the interview process’. Along with all the advice from Northumbria and my experience in a similar setting I was offered the job and started straight away in August!

What are you doing now?

Following time learning about community food and public health with Kids Cafe, I secured a job with East End Health in 2010 - which became the social enterprise Food Nation. With Food Nation I was able to pass on food, nutrition and cooking skills to people from every background and ages between 2 and 92 years old. This experience with Food Nation saw me going from project assistant to Director of the company and allowed me to develop relationships with national and global companies including the Tesco Community Cookery School and the Jamie Oliver company who I still work closely with today.

In 2021, I was in a great position to set up my own social enterprise cookery school called Nourish Food School. Nourish Food School is all about positively shaping the way people experience food every day and public health improvement is at the heart of everything we do. I continue to work with the Jamie Oliver Company on the national Ministry of Food programme whilst leading my team to support people facing significant disadvantages to making good food choices - including people navigating out of homelessness, people in recovery from addiction, people experiencing food poverty and many more.

How did you get your degree relevant job?

Getting a job after graduation is hard work when you are up against thousands of other graduates. I made sure that I was looking and applying for jobs throughout the whole of my final year of university, and I really used the student services available for CV writing and job interviews.

What did this process entail?

For my current job I put a lot of work into the application process, which involved everything from writing an initial request for an application form, completing the application form, preparing an interview presentation and the actual interview process itself.

How did your degree/PhD at Northumbria benefit your career?

My degree was an essential requirement for the position I have at the minute, and I have found that I have used knowledge from every aspect of the Food and Nutrition course (even the Risk Assessment module!)

Do you have any interests or achievements you pursue outside of your career?

I love my job, and food is pretty much what I do both in and outside of my career. I have learnt so much more about food and nutrition in the community from being in a work setting.

Is there anything else you would like to add about Northumbria University?

I had a great time at Northumbria University, I still keep in touch with a lot of friends from uni who all have food related jobs too, from New Product Development, Food quality assessment, Community Cooking, and some people have even gone onto postgraduate Dietetics too.

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