Student Profile | Valerie Hutson

Graduating in 2015 from Edge Hill with a First Class BSc (Hons) degree in Nutrition and Health, Val applied to join the Association for Nutrition UK Voluntary Register via the portfolio route.

In 2016 Blackpool Council recruited Val as their Healthy Lifestyles Nutritionist based at the Towns new Health Works Hub. This new initiative brought together employment, health and lifestyle specialist providing advice for local residents to help them gain employment and improve overall health and wellbeing. Val led the team of Healthy Lifestyles Coaches whose role it was to encourage and support Blackpool residents to make healthier choices. 

As part of the Council’s Public Health Team Val also supported the development of the new Healthier Choices Catering Award. She encourages food outlets, such as take-aways, schools, children’s centres, and workplace canteens to adopt healthier cooking methods and make healthier food options available.  Val has presented over 125 Healthier Choices Awards and in 2019 launched the New Junior Healthier Choices Award recognising healthier, family friendly venues that welcome in breastfeeding mothers.

Working within the community Val has delivered primary school taster sessions to promote healthy packed lunches and breakfasts, developing leaflets and activity sheets to reinforce health messages. She also supported the mental health charity Headstart by planning and facilitating healthy eating cooking courses with groups of High School students.

After recently completing Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food ‘Train the Trainer’ Programme Val with be encouraging Blackpool families to cook from scratch with hands on cooking sessions.

Student Profile | Nicola Holden

Nicola graduated from Edge Hill University in July 2015 with a First Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and Health.

“Studying nutrition at Edge Hill gave me a good understanding of the principles of nutrition and public health needed to understand the causes of non-communicable diseases and health inequalities, which I use regularly in my current job. The degree also equipped me with the skills to critically analyse evidence to ensure I am recommending evidence-based advice to my patients.

Following studying Nutrition and Health, I completed a PG dip in nutrition and dietetics which enabled me to qualify as a registered dietitian.

I am now a registered dietitian working for the NHS. I see patients in hospital and advise on nutritional plans to medically unwell patients. This involves developing feeding regimes for tube fed patients, encouraging weight gain in patients at risk of malnutrition and supporting patient’s nutritional development during rehab for brain injuries.”

Student Profile | Emma Wafer

Emma graduated from Edge Hill University in July 2017 with a First Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and Health.

‘Whilst in my third year at  Edgehill University studying BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health one of my modules entitled, Personal Career Development, required me to complete a  placement in order for me to pass the course. One of the key focus points of the module was the transition process from study to the working environment with the focus on increasing key transferable and employability skills.

With ambitions to work with Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP), I carried out a work  placement at Nutricia.

My role was in the Product Development team, assisting Technicians with various testing, shadowing Technologists and working within the sensory lab.  I  was provided with the materials and resources needed to complete work relating to my university module but also  gained vital work experience within this industry.”

As Emma made a great impression, we asked her to extend her time in our Quality Department for a further 2 months, doing data entry for the China FSMP submission of new  products into China. 

After leaving Nutricia Emma kept an eye on our careers site and in contact with colleagues and came across the opportunity to apply for a role with the Productivity, security of Supply and capability team as Product Technician for Project Libra. Successfully applied and was recruited to commenced in summer 2017

Her role is supporting the implementation of changes to existing products as part of a continuous improvement programme to meet new legislation and market requirements

Emma’s first 3 months – she has already featured in company newsletter ! ‘Danone contributes to the learning and progression of its  employees.’

“The training and mentorship I have received from people within the company not only allowed me to take full advantage of opportunities during my placement enabling me to complete my portfolio to a high standard, but enhanced my employability.  Three months in, my personal development journey continues…”

Student Profile | Nathan Little

Nathan graduated from Edge Hill University in July 2018 with a First Class Honours Degree in Nutrition and Health.

“Since leaving Edge Hill, I took on a 1 year MA Documentary course at Liverpool John Moores University in 2017-18.

I had a keen interest in filmmaking, media and journalism during my time at Edge Hill and received a Creative Arts scholarship from the university alongside being nominated for an Enterprise Award following completion of the Nutriton and Entrepreneurship module.

I have taken quite a different route from what most students graduating from the Nutrition course would do, however I am still implementing my knowledge from the course to this day.

I currently hold a position as a Graphics Designer and Videographer, however I also work on my own projects with a company I set up called Glass Line Media.

We currently have a number of projects in the works, a few of which are documentaries exploring various areas of nutrition, health and other science fields.

As I gained extensive knowledge from the Nutrition and Health course, as well as the research skills necessary to produce these films, I am confident that myself and my team will be able to bring forward interesting and compelling films to enlighten audiences as to the newest developments in the field of nutrition and health.”

Something positive, something negative, and a take-home message for our students.

I am proud to have been involved in Service User and Carer involvement in one way or another for around 40 years or so now. One of the most exciting areas of activity, in my opinion, has been the involvement in professional education and in particular, Social Work courses.

Having a central budget and a requirement for our involvement has made a real difference. Nothing is perfect, but our involvement as Service Users and Carers has really changed Social Work education for the better in my opinion.

I believe that having Service User and Carer involvement from the start teaches students to work in more tailored and personable ways from the beginning, and I am proud to have been involved in this process alongside many others.

I am also involved in the disabled people’s and service user organisation, Shaping Our Lives. You can learn more about this network and find lots of helpful resources at:

A downside of Service User and Carer involvement from my point of view, is that it can often feel as though we are taking two steps forward and one step back due to financial cuts in services and regular changes in policy. Such events can set limits to the support available and can make it difficult for Service Users and Carers who are committed to making a difference.

So having covered the positive and the negative, I’d like to share a take-home message to our students:

There is no getting away from it – working in Health and Social Care can be difficult, but at the same time extremely rewarding and impactful. You are capable of making a positive difference to the lives of other people – the lives of people who are ‘up against it’ – sometimes more than you could ever imagine.

So, do the best you can and remember, you are being equipped with professional competencies and skills. If you combine these skills and listen to what Service Users and Carers say to you, then ultimately you are in the best position to assess what course of action will be most helpful.

Believe in yourself, stick by your patient, and never underestimate the importance of your role.

Profile image of Peter Beresford
Profile image of Peter Beresford

–  Professor Peter Beresford OBE

Professor Peter Beresford OBE is a leading figure in the arena of citizen participation and involvement, and perhaps the pre-eminent voice in relation to service user and carer participation in service design, delivery and evaluation. He is currently Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University, Co-Chair of independent user-controlled organisation, think tank and network Shaping Our Lives and a visiting professor at Edge Hill. In 2007 he was awarded his OBE and in 2016, he was named as one of the top 100 influential people in the UK in relation to issues of disability and impairment.


Research Theme | Public Health

Research in this cluster focuses on health inequalities, delivery of public health interventions and the balance between population and individual perspectives. There is also work on population musculoskeletal health led by Prof Paola Dey, Dr Ben Langley and Dr Nicola Relph. A group led by Prof Stuart Fairclough, are exploring the impact of detrimental lifestyle-related behaviours, such as physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour and poor sleep, on child and adolescent health, including movement behaviour interventions to promote well-being.

Research Theme | Health and Wellbeing

This cluster focuses on the impact of lifestyle factors on health across the life course. This includes the role of the arts, psychotherapy and creative psychotherapy in health, led by Professor Vicky Karkou, the influence of digital technology and data analytics in enabling good health, led by Professor Ella Pereira and the management of sickness absence, stress and resilience in healthcare settings, led by Prof Paresh Wankhade.

To learn more about our Health and Wellbeing research theme, please visit

Research Theme | Supporting Care

In this cluster Professor Sally Spencer, Dr Carol Kelly and Dr Andy Levy lead work on systematic reviews and the management of chronic respiratory conditions. Active research topics include self-management strategies in bronchiectasis and emotional health in rehabilitation.

Professor Mary O’Brien, Professor Barbara Jack and Dr Kate Knighting lead work on the management of palliative and end of life care. Active projects include characterisation of respite care services for young people with life-limiting conditions and further development of the Carers Alert Thermometer (CAT).

To learn more about our Supporting Care research theme, please visit

Research Theme | Improving Professional Practice

Professor Jeremy Brown, Professor John Sandars, and Dr Axel Kaehne lead this research cluster.

Activities focus on three main areas: Performance enhancement in health professional development, the Impact and assessment of education in health and other related professions – including theory-driven approaches to the evaluation of education, and the Evaluation of improvements to health care services.

To learn more about our Improving Professional Practice theme, please visit


Research Theme | Children, Young People and Families

The work of this group focuses on young people with complex needs, those requiring palliative care and those living with long-term conditions. Teams within this cluster, led by Professor Bernie Carter and Professor Lucy Bray, have a particular interest in pain management, support and information for children and young people undergoing clinical procedures in hospital.

To learn more about the Children, Young People and Families research theme please visit