Nutrition employability and graduate readiness: The Australian Working in Nutrition study

Katya Clark, Jessica R. Biesiekierski, Olivia D. Farrer, Anita Stefoska-Needham, Emma L. Beckett, Tanya Lawlis, Evangeline Mantzioris, Libby Swanepoel

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Abstract

Background: Nutrition science graduates contribute to the nutrition workforce by bringing specialist knowledge and skills needed to address future food challenges. This study aims to provide a snapshot of the current employment landscape for nutrition science graduates in Australia and how well their degrees prepare them for employment. Method: A cross-sectional survey of Australian tertiary nutrition graduates was conducted to explore tertiary training, employment pathways and their perceived preparedness for practice. Results: This study included a final sample of 119 graduates from 17 Australian tertiary institutions. Almost two-thirds of respondents had completed further training. Most graduates (77%, n = 91) had worked in a food, nutrition science or health-related role after their degree; the most frequently cited employment settings were government or public health organisations; research, not-for-profit or nongovernment organisations; and the food industry. Work-integrated learning was identified as a key predictor of graduates working in a role that differed from their expectations as a student. The skill categories developed during nutrition training that were most valued in the workplace included nutrition and scientific knowledge, and professional and communication skills. Conclusions: This study offers first insights into the current employment landscape for nutrition graduates across Australia. Findings show that current nutrition science professionals are highly qualified and prepared to navigate the evolving demands of nutrition practice. Regular review of graduate employment will inform nutrition science curriculum to enable graduates to be well equipped in the face of dynamic practice settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2024

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