Jennifer lives with her husband and two children in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire. Before coming to QMU, she worked as a process development manager within the research and development team for a well-known biscuit manufacturer. However, redundancy forced a rethink, and Jennifer opted for a change of career direction. As a child she loved studying home economics at school, which led to her initial undergraduate degree and then her role in the food industry. So, when considering a change of direction after redundancy, Jennifer opted for postgraduate degree in Home Economics at Queen Margaret University, which would prepare her for a career as a Home Economics teacher in a Scottish secondary school.
Jennifer tells us more about her move into Home Economics and her experience of studying the PGDE Secondary (Home Economics) at QMU.
Why do you think Home Economics is so important for young people?
Home Economics has so much to offer pupils development in terms of important skills and knowledge leading to various career opportunities but it also creates the development of life skills, knowledge on important aspects of diet and diseases, real world issues such as sustainability, and different cultural aspects of life, which in turn has the potential to create responsible citizens within a challenging and changing environment.
How did your previous work connect with what you are doing now?
I worked in research and development in the Scottish food industry. Bringing initial product concepts to life and eventually seeing them on supermarket shelves was really exciting and rewarding. However, redundancy has allowed me to explore other options relating to food, and with a commercial background in food industry, I am excited to help provide young people with different insights into roles involving food, and to help them explore various food, nutrition and consumer related career roles.
What did you enjoy most about studying Home Economics at QMU?
Understanding transformative learning and how much Home Economics can contribute to this, in terms of political, social and economic impacts and influence. I also enjoyed learning about textiles, which is something I don’t have much experience of. I made a drawstring bag from a t-shirt which is something I never thought I could do. This has now given me the confidence to be able to teach this in a lesson.
What were the challenges?
Juggling of assignments and placements with the requirements of children and family life.
Did you use any of QMU’s additional support services?
I used the Effective Learning Service a couple of times, but mostly I used Studiosity, the feedback turnaround was super-fast, with detailed feedback and the chat option, where you could ask questions on your feedback, was great.
Tell us about your placement?
I was at St Modan’s in Stirling and taught Broad General Education (BGE) and senior courses such as Practical Cookery and Health and Food Technology. I learned the importance of building relationships with the pupils, lots of creative and active learning opportunities and the requirements of the senior curriculum.
Did you find QMU staff supportive?
Yes, very much so. You are very much known as a person and all the staff are willing to support you.
What are your most memorable moments at QMU?
There have been a few - returning to Newhailes House and Gardens in Musselburgh at the end of the programme for the outdoor learning event - we went to Newhailes at the start of the course for an outdoor learning task, and it was surreal to come back at the end and reflect on how far we had come. It only felt like yesterday since we’d been there the first time!
We also had a great day out in Edinburgh, simulating a school excursion around the theme of Food Systems and Multi-cultural Scotland - exploring and enjoying the delights of the culturally vast array of food shops, bakeries and deli’s available in Leith Walk.
Sum up your experience of studying Home Economics in three words?
Fun, challenging and rewarding.
What are your plans following graduation?
Family holiday in Italy, spending time with my children over the summer and preparing for my probationary teaching year.
"Home Economics has so much to offer pupils development in terms of important skills and knowledge leading to various career opportunities but it also creates the development of life skills, knowledge on important aspects of diet and diseases, real world issues such as sustainability, and different cultural aspects of life, which in turn has the potential to create responsible citizens within a challenging and changing environment. "