Taylors of Harrogate: Careers case study

Clare Walker, Food Technologist: "It's an ever-changing industry with lots of opportunity to develop."

Qualification: BSc (Hons) Food Studies and Nutrition - University of Leeds

Q: What does an average day involve?

A: I'm part of the Quality Assurance team responsible for ensuring our Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee are consistently produced to the highest quality for our customers. For me this might involve assessing our training and food safety systems and procedures, working with our suppliers to make sure they meet our high standards and liaising with other departments, such as our training and production teams, to implement new processes.

Q: What was your career path?

A: I started at Taylors of Harrogate as a Trainee Food Technologist after I graduated from university. I was immediately given lots of exciting responsibilities to help me learn and develop. I also completed several external courses such as food hygiene training. After two years in the business I became a food technologist.

Q: What is the best thing about your job?

A: I love my job because every day is different and I enjoy the interaction with a range of departments. There's a huge sense of achievement when you've resolved an issue or received excellent feedback from your customers.

Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing this career?

A: If you have a passion for food and enjoy science subjects then this may be the career for you. It's an advantage to get some work experience, whether that's during your school holidays or as an industrial placement as a part of your degree. I'd also recommend going to university open days to find out more about the courses they offer and speak to current students.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?

A: I expect that I'll be working in the food industry in a quality assurance based role. It's an ever-changing industry, with lots of opportunities to learn and develop.

Q: How should you make the perfect cup of tea? Do you put the milk in first or after?

A: If I'm using a teapot I always warm the pot with some hot water while the kettle's on, empty that water, put in my tea, add my freshly boiling water and leave to brew for 4-5 minutes. Milk before or after is very much personal preference, but I tend to put milk in first if the tea's been brewed in a teapot.

If I'm brewing it in a mug I put tea in first as adding milk first to a mug will lower the water temperature.

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Last reviewed: 15 Mar 2011