School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences

Placements

Placements

Overview

Work experience is invaluable. Our nutrition and dietetic programmes provide you with the opportunity to apply your academic knowledge in the workplace and develop valuable employability skills.

In our Integrated Master of Dietetics course, these placements are compulsory and integrated through all years of study. In our suite of food and nutrition programmes, you can opt to complete a professional placement year. Click on the tabs above to find out more about the placement opportunities in our programmes.

Dietetics

Why have placements?

When you study Dietetics you need time to practise your newly learnt skills and to develop the competencies required for you to qualify as a registered dietitian. A certain number of placement hours are a mandatory component of all BDA and HCPC accredited courses, but how those hours are distributed and where you spend them will vary between different universities.

During Newcastle University’s MDiet course, you will undertake over 1000 placement hours, split across 3 defined placements (A, B and C), in settings that have been carefully chosen to provide our students with a wide variety of practice experience from an early stage. We believe this helps our students foster a holistic approach to dietetics, gaining an understanding of what helps people to make healthy food choices and also the barriers that people may face when trying to eat a healthy diet.

Where and when do placements take place?

Placement A: Starting in semester 2 of the first year, Placement A consists of a series of half and full day observational/experiential ‘mini placements’ in a range of food and care related settings including:

• Care settings e.g. care homes, GP practices
• Community projects and social enterprises such as local Foodbanks, Food Nation (www.foodnation.org), and the Altered Eating Research Network (https://research.ncl.ac.uk/alteredeating/)
• Catering settings (hospital, schools, council home meals delivery)
• In addition there is a 1 week placement in an NHS Dietetics department during semester 2 of second year.

During each A Placement visit, students are asked to complete tasks related to the professional competencies of communication and professionalism, with opportunities to complete project work that has a real-life application in improving nutrition and wellbeing in local communities.

Placements B and C are each a 12 week Placement in an NHS Dietetic Department, and focus on helping students develop competency in the Nutrition & Dietetic Care Process, the core care process that Registered Dietitians (RDs) follow in practice.

Placement B is undertaken in Semester 2 of the third year of the course. B placement is about students building competency. It takes students through each of the steps of the Care Process separately and provides the opportunity to build these skills in arrange of health specialties (wards, clinics and community settings) with a variety of service users (individuals and groups).

Placement C is undertaken in the first semester of the 4th and final year of your MDiet studies. C placement is about students demonstrating competency in the Care Process. It involves putting all of the steps practised in B Placement together to carry out full consultations, planning, providing and evaluating dietary care plans in a range of health specialties and with a range of service users. C placement also requires students to consolidate their skills by demonstrating the ability to managing their own small caseload of patients.

With only three months between our B and C placements, Newcastle University Dietetics course offers a smooth transition between these two main placement blocks, enabling our students to build on their skills without a long period in between.

Support while on Placement

We help our students get the most from each placement with pre and post-placement activities on campus. They are supported by a designated placement tutor while out in placement settings, and all students are visited during B and C placement to review progress and discuss any issues. All placement supervisors are trained in supporting student placements, and supervising dietitians for NHS placements have undertaken specific Clinical Supervision training.

How are Placements Assessed?

Placements are assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. Students produce placement portfolios to demonstrate how they satisfy the core competencies to successfully complete each placement. Portfolios are assessed by placement tutors (A Placement) or by Clinical Supervisors on placement (B and C Placement). Our first year Introduction to Dietetics Module assessment is designed to help students become familiar with some of the processes involved in compiling a professional portfolio, so they are already familiar with what they need to do by the time they are out on placement.

Food and Nutrition

The placement year is an excellent opportunity to apply your knowledge in a work setting and gain valuable professional experience that will help you stand out from other graduates in the marketplace, putting you in the perfect position to accelerate your career. Our students return from placement with a first-hand understanding of how nutrition applies to the real world.

It is up to you to decide where to undertake your placement. You will be guided through the application process by dedicated and experienced placement advisers. Our award-winning Careers Service and dedicated placement adviser will provide you with training, such as preparing a CV, applying for jobs and interview practice.

During the placement, you collate evidence of your work experience and skills development as a portfolio. This can be submitted for the award of a Licentiateship of the City and Guilds Institute, London (equivalent to NVQ Level 4).

Our past students have undertaken placements at a range of companies and charities, these range from large multinational food companies, to new start-up companies, and to not for profit organisations in the UK, Asia and Oceania.

96% of students are in work or further study within 6 months of graduation (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2017) and our past students agree that industrial placements are a great experience.

Student Quotes

Sophie Copping- Food and Human Nutrition with Placement Graduate, 2019
“I chose the option of a placement year because I was keen to get some experience in industry, particularly in retail. I wanted a break from studying to learn practical skills and have different opportunities in a new city. My placement year was the highlight of my 4 years and without a doubt imperative to helping me get a graduate job. Particularly on a scheme for a big company which will require a years’ experience on application”.

Rebecca Cooper - Food and Human Nutrition with Placement Graduate, 2018
“I secured a placement year with Iceland Foods in their Technical department with a focus on Food Safety, Quality and Legal Compliance. The vast variety of experience and the opportunity to interact with other departments such as Buying, Marketing and Packaging help you to understand how a retailer functions and the process behind a product appearing on the shelf. This experience in the food industry put me in a good position to secure a grad role after my degree”.

Melissa Kuman - Food and Human Nutrition with Placement Graduate, 2018
“Doing a placement is the best thing you can do as it gives you an insight into your potential future job. You learn what you want to do or not want to do with your life post uni!”

Alexa Richardson - Food and Human Nutrition with Placement Graduate, 2016
“My placement year opened my eyes up to the world of R&D and gave me a brilliant stepping stone into industry, with my title Project Manager just 3 years after finishing the course”.

Sophia Campbell Linn - Food and Human Nutrition with Placement Graduate, 2015
“My placement year was invaluable for shaping my future career in the food industry - not only did I learn the areas I enjoyed, but discovered about the breadth of jobs available with a Food Science and Nutrition degree - it allowed me to complete my final year with more focus and determination of what I wanted to achieve”.