When I first came to university to study environmental health, I only knew about food inspections and the food safety side of it due to previously being a chef.
But after attending fresher’s week and finding out more about the course and the different modules, I found it was much more in-depth and interesting than I first thought (not that food isn’t interesting – mmm food!).
Everything that makes up environmental health – occupational health, safety and wellbeing, environmental protection, housing, food safety and public health – offers me a different career path. It’s a massive bonus that could provide me with a wider range of opportunities later on.
This was my main reason for applying to university – I didn’t want a job where I’d be running around a kitchen or sat at a desk every day. A career in environmental health could offer me a bit of both with lots of different scenarios to deal with every day/week/year.
My first year of university was quite difficult, as I secured my place through experience and courses I acquired through work rather than A-levels. This meant I was slightly behind on the academic side of things.
This wasn’t a major problem though as there was plenty of support available, and the lecturers were more than happy to help when asked. For me personally, having been in the catering industry and having a good understanding of the food safety module allowed me more time to concentrate on developing my academic skills.
Within first year, we visited sites to help with the understanding of different areas within environmental health. These included:
- The Welsh National History Museum at St Fagan’s and historic Llandaff village, where we looked at buildings from different eras and learned about why building strategies have changed over the years to improve our style of living.
- A working building site, so that we could visibly see the different stages of a build.
- Cardiff Bay recycling plant, to show all the different processes our waste goes through and what can be produced from it.
- Caerphilly mountain, where some days, you can actually see the pollution we produce into the atmosphere (there’s an amazing view on a clear day too!).
- A steel works, to learn how they are reducing the amount of pollution released into the environment.
Alongside these visits, we have wandered around the university taking noise readings, visited the kitchens and learned about the university’s drainage system – which is more interesting than it sounds!
Going in to my second year I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge around environmental health. There are lots of opportunities for overseas trips through the university that are funded too. I am currently researching global food safety and stability so I can write an essay and produce a presentation for the chance to get a place on a 2-month Uganda trip next year. Fingers crossed!
Read more about environmental and public health courses at Cardiff Met or check out a video of a previous Uganda trip below.