Jessica Coyle

Process Development Technologist, 2 Sisters Food Group

"The placement scheme enables supervisors to develop leadership skills, as well as giving them an opportunity to mentor students and provide training in aspects of their field. This also aids with their professional development, as well as in the development of the student."

What type of projects do you run?
We provide the opportunity for students to be involved with projects which are ongoing and key to the future development of the company, providing important research which is used to complete further work in this field.

What motivated you to supervise a school student through the Nuffield Research Placements scheme?
It is a great opportunity to give a student, who may not have much professional experience, a keen inside knowledge to the food industry, working alongside skilled technologists.

What do you feel are the main benefits to your organisation to taking on a Nuffield student?
The Nuffield Research Placement programme is a very prestigious scheme, which enables talented students to experience a professional environment. As the students involved are very bright, this enables the scheme to be mutually beneficial for both the student and the company. In addition to providing us the opportunity to be involved with such a rewarding programme, it also helps us to complete crucial work and research into projects which will help benefit us as a company in the long term.

What do you feel are the main benefits for students from taking part in the scheme?
Students are given the unique opportunity whilst still in education to work alongside skilled professionals in their industry of choice, and are thereby given a keen inside look to a potential future career. It also enables them to develop and further skills which will give them competitive edge in future academic or professional ventures.

Has this activity been recognised in your institution and has it been of benefit to your department?
Yes. An article about the Nuffield placement has been written into our 2 Sisters Food Group newsletter, as well as being communicated to a wider audience in the chilled foods sector. The work that has been carried out is of relevance to all aspects of the food industry, as well as the Department of Health, and the Food Standards Agency. The research completed is being used to complete further work in this field.

Would you recommend the scheme to others?
Definitely. The Nuffield placement does not just give the student a keen insight to the industry; it is mutually beneficial for both the student and the company involved. It gave us the opportunity to get a head start on an important piece of work that will inevitably shape the range of products that we will develop in future, and also permitted the supervisor to develop their leadership skills.

Has it helped communicate your area of science to a wider public and why do you feel this is important?
Yes, as often young people are not aware of the variety of areas and skill sets that are involved in the food industry. Our placement this year was a good example of this. Our Nuffield student left us having developed a keen interest in statistics and analysis and is keen to develop their enthusiasm further.