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Olatunde Oluwatola (MSc Food Technology 1982)

Biography

Born into a simple and morally committed Christian family, I am the first son but second child among six. I started formal education in 1958 and continued until the PhD in Food Science and Technology in 1996. I was at Reading for MSc Food Technology, (Quality Assurance option) in the 1981-8 set). I was back as a United Nation University Research Fellow, supported with Chevening scholarship in Jan. 1993 till Jan.’94). My colleagues in 1982 included Tjing, now in California, Hung in Bangladesh, Charles, now a Professor and Tunde in Nigeria. My colleagues in 1993 include Joyce Kikafunda PhD in Uganda, now a professor, and Rosemary PhD in Malaysia. I worked with Lever Brothers Nigeria on production of detergents and as work study manager before coming to Reading. Since Reading, I lectured and did research at a University in Nigeria, completed my PhD working on green field maize at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the University of Ibadan. I finally was engaged as Director at Consumer Protection Council, Nigeria in market surveillance and enforcement, consumer education and quality assurance and development at different times. I retired from public service mandatorily in December 2009 and am now engaged in consulting services mediating and facilitating development projects in under-served communities in Nigeria. I am married with four children and three grand children.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

Searching for a training that was very practical and helpful in making me accomplish my commitment to advance technological and economic development in my country, I found from the brochure of the University of Reading that the Quality Assurance option of Food Technology was apt hence, I chose it above others. 

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

The rich company of students from varying culture and church friends at Walton on Thames Baptist where I was in a Choral Concert team are memorable. The depth of practical exposure to the science, engineering and economics of safe food production and supply to humanity are indelible. Great teachers and great facilities abound.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Get ready to meet new people and become international.

There is plenty to learn from both your Faculty members as well as other learning resources, determine to exploit as much as you can.

Be engaged in balanced social and academic life, avoid reclusion and boredom.

Do not neglect sport and seminars (internal and external).Be ready to work hard, Reading does not play with exams, assignments and for science and engineering, laboratory reports.

Make enduring contacts.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I just retired from formal public service as Director at consumer Protection Council, Nigeria, a position held for the maximum tenure. I am getting into consulting for the mediation and facilitation of policies and projects to promote grass root development of under-served communities in some parts of Nigeria. I successfully took the job after leaving lecturer position at the University of Agriculture and Consulting Scientist position at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria and completing a PhD in Food Technology from University Ibadan using a Research Fellowship grant from the IITA.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Across the globe there are great opportunities. State of national developments, however, does affect these opportunities. In developed societies, competition to give optimum safe, nutritious and healthy foods drive the industry hence smart and innovative talents are on great demand at good income both in industry and government for complementary regulations. 

In developing countries, the less regard given to safety of citizenry makes advocacy for best practice a very important challenge. Thus opportunities for engagement in multilateral organizations abound as well as progressive enterprises that appreciate the long term gains in sound application of Food Technology to food supply.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

The University of Reading gave me a golden egg. Critical thinking and integrated learning that do not segregate knowledge are critical to problem solving in any society and for all fields. Reading taught me to see that research and education must be pragmatic to solve human problems and cause invention and development. This realization has helped my career path. I did not take sufficient advantage of the Careers Office but I recollected learning from its materials on how to develop a winning CV.

Do you have any top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

A number of your lecturers are internationally renowned; please chat with them on your career interests.

Make the best use of the career office, employers use them to scout. Do not be too busy to check up on the place. Determine your career interests and pursue them with dedicated focus. 

Put yourself up at your interests, you must get into the circle of their influence to be so recognized.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The memory of great friends such as Soh Lay, Mutasa (BSc Food Technology 1982) and Dave Geoff (BSc 1981) are cherished. My second coming for Chevening Fellowship to conduct research where Firemen came to campus at my instance is also amusing. The University has been the cubicle of my incubation and I thank God, especially as I consider the contributions that I currently make to Codex work through National Codex Contact point in Nigeria.

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