Erin Ross graduated from university feeling a little lost and unsure of her next steps.
"I always had an interest in food and nutrition, so I started working on a training team helping with new restaurant openings,” she said.
Ross traveled all over the country, and as far away as Sweden to train people in running a restaurant and helping them prepare for openings.
“But traveling can be a little tiring,” she said.
Ross left her position and worked other corporate roles for the next few years until the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
“Growth kind of stopped in the industry and I was let go,” she said.
Instead of job hunting in such a precarious market, she decided to go back to school. Passion and career-preparedness both factored into her decision.
“I found Food and Nutrition Management at Humber and it sounded really cool. There’s a balance of working with food and the scientific side. It will also prepare me to work with older adults,” said Ross, who has always been interested in caring for others.
The diploma program prepares students for supervisory roles in the growing healthcare food service industry.
Humber’s program also stood out because of its offsite placement options.
Ross was keen to get real-world experience in a hospital or long-term care home, having worked in such settings as a young person.
“I really enjoyed that environment, so that was my goal coming into the program,” she said.
“I want to know, as food costs go up, how can I make nutritious and affordable meals that meet the needs of the older population?”
Ross has experience testing products and developing menus from her previous career, which mixes well with her current ambitions.
“It will definitely help me with creating equally delicious food in long-term care,” she said.
When she was applying to post-secondary schools the first time around, Ross had no idea programs like Food and Nutrition Management existed.
“It was presented to me as, you could be a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, all these very typical careers,” she said.
“It was only after university and going back to college that I realized there’s so many routes you can take. It doesn’t have to be this one path.”
Humber’s career-focused approach feels right to Ross. In university, she felt the subject matter was so broad that some of her electives distracted her from core learning outcomes.
“College is more streamlined. Every course I take, I can see where I’ll use it in the future,” she said.
“If you enjoy working in hospitals or long-term care, this program will set you up for success in that field, but it can also lead to other careers – you could go off and be a dietitian from here or transfer to other programs like Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Promotion.”
Ross will finish classes in April before completing a five-week placement as a nutrition manager.
To get a taste of Ross’ nutritional talents, try her Creamy Mushroom Soup recipe, previously published on Humber Today.