On International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022, Amy Jackson, one of our scientists who works in Food & Beverage Solutions, answered questions from children aged 10 to 18 through Founders4Schools about her job and how she got into science.
Did you always know you wanted to do this job?
Not always. When I was very young, I actually wanted to be a policewoman! When I was at high school, I really enjoyed science and home economics and I was lucky that my school let us do work experience. I worked in a dietetic unit of a local hospital where they look at how diet and nutrition affects out health. I then worked at a food manufacturer where they make different foods and that’s when I decided that food manufacturing was the best option for me. I would encourage school pupils and college students to take up the offer of a work placement, as it really helped me decide what to do.
What is the best thing about your job, and the hardest thing?
The best thing is when I get to help our customers succeed in their projects and also seeing new products that I’ve helped create appear in the shops. Sometimes we don’t get much notice when a customer has a new project they want to work on, so we have to act fast to help them, especially as they need time to test their products before they can be sold in the supermarkets. It can be very stressful but I enjoy the challenge!
Where do you go for help with your work?
I’m part of a European team, but I also work with colleagues across the world in different departments. They are all very helpful and we support each other.
What skills have you learnt in your job that are useful in real life?
Baking different products is of course useful, as I also like to bake at home. But it's also much more than that. Communication skills is a good example, whether it’s telephone conversations, face to face conversations, emails etc. I’m in contact with many people across the globe as part of my job and that skill becomes useful in everyday life too.
Did you have role models when you were growing up and do you have one now?
My greatest female role model has been, and still is my mother. She has always encouraged and supported me. Growing up, she was running a house, studying and also working. Sometimes I would join her at work in the evening or during the school holidays. She showed me from a young age the importance of being independent and that women can have a career. It also helped gave me some valuable work skills from a very young age. She even sacrificed her Saturdays to drive me to and from long shifts working on a food production line when I was 16-17.
What would you say to a young person considering a career in your area of work?
I would encourage young people to gain experience. If you decide something isn't right for you, that’s fine, don’t panic, because many skills can be used in other jobs and it’s also important to gain life skills and independence. Work hard and respect each job you do, as you never know where it may take you on your career path!