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Careers at Food Action

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Getting started as a contract food technologist is unbelievably difficult, or at least, it was for us. We almost started up by accident and it was a long and bumpy road to get going. If it wasn’t for the fact we had 2 businesses that could average out each other’s few peaks and many troughs, we’d have never survived. To give you an idea of how it is, it was about 3 years before we got a single job out of any form of traditional advertising. Online advertising was a black hole for money, and word of mouth was pretty much the only way we were able to get work – and that can be intermittent and unreliable.

It’s a different problem now. We are still quite a small firm battling against peaks and troughs. Now that we have been operating for many years we get organic website traffic, continue to get word of mouth referrals, and are able to advertise successfully without losing money. The problem is now, we sometimes have an excess of work and we dislike turning work away, or letting people down.

We have found that the most successful model for us is to have casual subcontractors or employees that can help on a project by project basis. These are invariably people who have full time jobs that they want to keep, and have a little spare time to earn some extra pocket money while keeping their skills sharp.

We sometimes also have a need for really specialised skills. For instance, our strength is food control plans, but we get enquiries for RMP’s which we can do, but sometimes need help with. Or it might be a compliance scheme like SQF or BRC that we need someone’s help with. These jobs are so intermittent that it’s not worth us investing our time too heavily to become outright experts in these fields, so it is better to share the job with someone who works with these schemes daily.

We also work with students who can help us with specialised research skills – once again, this is quite intermittent but gives the student a little exposure to real world work and problems, which can be great experience.

Lastly, we do have a graduate food technology trainee programme that is proving to be a real success. This position is currently filled by an absolute star, but one day she will surely move on and we’ll be looking for someone new to fill the gap.

If any of these roles are of interest, fill in your details below and we will be in touch.

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