Beyond University: the next steps for dieticians and nutritionists

A recent event aimed to inspire students to think outside of the box in terms of their career and open them up to a range of opportunities they may not have thought of.

Date: 4 November 2021

More than 70 London Met Dietetics and Nutrition students joined a virtual event which explored post-university careers, skills, and the job market.

Hosted by Dale Rees, lecturer in Dietetics and Nutrition at the University, the event aimed to inspire students to think outside of the box in terms of their next career steps, and open them up to a range of opportunities and career ideas they may not have thought of.

The first speaker was Libby England, Senior Student Enterprise Manager at London Met's Accelerator. She spoke about the enterprise opportunities that are available at the University, and how the Accelerator can help budding business owners. She started by asking the group what enterprise meant to them, and a discussion on why being enterprising is important.

"Being creative, innovative and solving problems are important skills for the economy and for yourself if you want to start your own business, or even if you want to work for someone else," she said. "Who wouldn't want an employee who is enterprising?"

The students were also joined by two London Met graduates, Cliona Brennan and Tai Ibitoye, who gave an insight into their journey.

Cliona, who now works as a specialist nutritionist for children and adolescents with eating disorders in a London hospital, spoke about the different components of her work. These included; reviewing and altering patient meal plans, providing guidance to other health professionals, helping patients to maintain a healthy weight and to increase their independence, such as through cooking or choosing foods for themselves. She is currently undertaking a PhD at London Met part-time alongside her job, having previously completed an MSc here, and spoke about the value of research in both academic and clinical careers. 

Tai, who is a registered dietician and PhD candidate focusing on appetite and dietary intake in older students, left a role in the NHS to pursue a freelance career. She writes on health related topics, offers private nutrition support for older adults, and works on weight management and public health projects.

Freelance life appealed to her as it gave her the chance to create opportunities for herself, and to focus on her passions for research, writing, public health, as well as sharing content about nutrition on social media, while still maintaining her clinical skills. One freelance project she's worked on was with Lambeth Council, creating resources on healthy eating and nutrition guidance for people from Afro-Caribbean backgrounds who are at greater risk of diabetes.

A range of other speakers spoke about their own careers and how they'd developed after university, including: Heather Alford from the Global Challenges Research Fund, Dr Sophie Castle from Clasado Biosciences Ltd, Dr Brittany Pearse and Dr Isabella Russo from Yakult UK Ltd., and Dr Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera from Action Against Hunger UK.

Jonathan Eastwood from London Met's Careers & Employability Service closed the event, with some practical tips on using LinkedIn to find work. He also spoke on how the service can help current and past students to find opportunities and offer them guidance through the application process.

four nutrition students working in a food lab, wearing lab coats and hairnets