MY name is Donna McGuire. I completed a National Diploma in Food, Health and Nutrition in Loughry in 2008.
I have always had an interest in food technology and science. Studying at Loughry provided a hands-on approach and practical experience of the food industry and this appealed more to me than staying at school.
The courses are designed with the food industry in mind, offering the opportunity to participate in industry placements and collaborations with major food manufacturers in Northern Ireland. I completed two industry placements during my time at Loughry: both within the meat sector.
I thoroughly enjoyed both placements and had the opportunity to apply the theory I was taught at Loughry. After completing my National Diploma, I then completed a BSc Hons Degree in Dietetics at the University of Ulster, followed by a MSc in Innovation, Leadership and Management at the University of York.
I initially began working in the food industry as an NPD Technologist, primarily in the meat and confectionary sectors. Witnessing the roll-out of the first product I worked on instore was such a great feeling. I was so proud to have played a tiny part in its creation.
The skills I have learnt in the food industry have been transferable across the world. I have worked with manufacturers and food companies on the island of Ireland, and in America and Australia.
I thrived on the challenge and buzz of the fast-paced work environment and welcomed the opportunity to work and travel at the same time. Every day I was able to learn something new and explore new places. In 2016 I moved back home and joined the team at Deli Lites and have been part of the furniture ever since.
My role in Deli Lites has evolved over the years and I am currently the Food, Innovation & Development Manager. At Deli Lites we work with some of the UK’s major retailers and export to countries as far away as the Middle East. I’ve had great learning opportunities during my time with the company and am constantly being challenged. Deli Lites has been a huge support to me in my further studies and on the job training.
Since joining Deli Lites I have returned to Loughry many times to complete short professional courses designed for those working in the industry. I completed the PIABC Diploma in Packaging Technology with the team at Loughry and most recently took part in the Heating Validation workshop with Hayley O’Neill in the Food Innovation Centre.
As we continue to expand our product range at Deli Lites, a thorough understanding of how to correctly calibrate and validate our heating guidelines is crucial.
These short courses are an ideal way to avail of the excellent resources and facilities that Loughry has to offer.
I would recommend anyone thinking of pursuing a career in the food industry, or anyone already working in the industry, to explore the learning opportunities that Loughry has to offer.
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