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Ben Hills was always interested in the sciences, having studied chemistry, biology and economics before coming to university. Ben wanted to study something which would unify these interests, a subject which would really help him to make a difference. Ben loved cooking and making food – so Food Technology made perfect sense.

"I didn't want to go and do a straight Biology or Chemistry or Economics degree, I wanted something that merged all the things that I enjoyed doing. And that with a passion for food, I think that's what took me through."

Coming to Reading

Ben didn't know that much about food sciences when he first took an interest – at that time he didn't know what a huge industry it was. Ultimately, Ben's decision was based both on the beautiful environment of our campus and the prestige of the Department.

"Once I'd decided I wanted to do Food Technology, I had a look round at where were the best places to go and do that... Reading was the best place to come. So I thought, if that's the best place to come, I'll certainly put that at the top of my list."

How Reading helped Ben's career

Whilst he had associated qualifications, Ben came to Reading without any specific qualification or experience in the food sciences. Four years later, he launched into a successful career in the food industry. Ben has worked in key positions with nationally recognised companies like Sainsbury's and Bird's Eye. He is currently at Bigham's and feels that his time at Reading was crucial to his career.

"With the all-round package from the learning experience through to the placement and then actually coming out with some useful experience that allows you to go into your first job, from a food degree perspective, you're pretty advantaged coming here over a lot of other places."

Coming full circle

Ben's time at the University was very happy, and he has remained in touch with the Department. As we are always looking for ways to keep our courses at the forefront of best practice, we asked if he could add his insight to our New Product Development module by joining our judging panel. He has some advice for a successful project:

"The thing that's really important is that everyone in the team knows what they're doing and they have a clear function within that team, so they work well together. Because working well together, you can deliver more together than you can in isolation."

Athena SWAN Silver Award