October 28, 2014, by James Jupe

Lauren gives food for thought on getting involved with the community

At Nottingham we’d encourage you to engage as much as possible with the opportunities available to help build your confidence. Whether you’re taking part in extracurricular activities, developing your work experience or volunteering your time, it all counts. There are always projects you can get involved in to improve your skills, and they can be either course specific or open to all students.

We spoke with Lauren Cheng, a second year nutrition and dietetics student, who took the initiative and took part in the Communicating Nutrition Project last year. She helped out as part of a small team of students to support local voluntary and community sector organisations with a nutrition-based issue. Here’s what she had to say about the experience!

By Lauren Cheng

Getting involved with the community

When I saw the Communicating Nutrition Project advertised I thought it was a great chance to put some of my nutritional knowledge to use while helping out at the same time. Being a dietitian would involve working in the community so I thought that doing the project would be a good learning opportunity as I hadn’t worked in the community setting before.

Our project for Hope Nottingham was to research the perceived barriers that stop vulnerable individuals in the Beeston area from receiving good nutrition and then finding solutions to these challenges. The project was very enjoyable and we saw how Hope Nottingham really appreciated the help.

It was a real eye-opener seeing the people that the charity helps and finding out more about them. You learn a lot more about the community by actually having hands-on experience rather than just imagining or reading something.

Learning by doing

Sometimes there were challenges like finding time to meet up and organising myself to research, but overall we all had an amazing time working on the project and with the charity. It was nice to see students from other years as well as find out more about my own personality and skills through taking part in the workshops that the Careers and Employability Service organise to help us along the way.

Finishing the Communicating Nutrition Project developed many skills such as teamwork, communication, research and my presentational ability. Thankfully they’re all transferable and can help me to apply for other jobs in the future. I would strongly encourage students to do this project as it teaches you much more than what you could get from sitting in a lecture.

A talking point

You can put down on your CV that you completed this project and it’s something you can talk about when you have interviews. It’ll be something different for employers to see, as you will be a skilled volunteer applying your own knowledge.

If you enjoy working with people, then this project will be really beneficial to you. You get to talk to people and see the troubles they are going through and at the end of the project you can make a great difference to their lives.

If you’ve been inspired by Lauren’s story it’s not too late to apply and take part in the Communicating Nutrition Project, which closes on Friday 7 November. Alternatively, you can find more work experience or volunteering experiences to enhance your skills.

Posted in Applying For JobsVolunteeringWork experience