Starting this trimester, our final-year Bachelor of Nutrition students will work on Live Brief Projects, created by industry professionals and based on real scenarios. As a feature of the Work-Integrated Learning subject, Special Populations Project, these briefs will let students combine their academic learnings with current, practical industry experience.
Giving Nutrition students different real-world industry experiences
Lloyd Bristow, Senior Learning Facilitator, Nutrition, leads the subject and is committed to bringing industry expertise into the classroom.
Lloyd says, ‘Torrens’ academics develop the industry live brief with a public health nutrition organisation or another industry partner. Then we present students with a real-life, industry-related challenge or scenario. For example, it might be an issue that an organisation works on daily to promote health in different communities. In small groups, the students will work on assessment tasks aligned to their project.
‘We will engage with different industry partners across the trimesters, so the students will have inputs from a range of these partners in their final year.’
‘It's about bridging that gap between theory and what happens in the real world, which will help students to understand the nature of working with people in various situations. It's also hugely beneficial for our graduates to have the skills and industry knowledge to be job ready. This type of industry immersion gives them a clear competitive advantage. When our graduates apply for jobs, they can say, “I've worked within the industry, through my university project.’
Partnering up with Food Education Australia
For our inaugural Live Brief Project, Torrens University has partnered with Food Education Australia, working closely with its Founding Executive Director, Kay Richardson.
‘The long-term goal of Food Education Australia,’ Kay explains, ‘is to reduce the incidence of diet-related disease, promoting policy and systemic change to support food education and food security, and to create a sustainable model for community-led initiatives through capacity building and empowerment. As a health-promoting charity, our area of expertise is relevant for Nutrition students if they wish to work in public health campaigns or in a community-facing health promotion role.
Food Education Australia’s single parent and refugee live brief
‘Our live brief asks them to consider the audience our charity cares about, that is, people who might be socially isolated, traumatised or food insecure – in this instance single-parent families and refugees. Both of these cohorts often find it difficult to provide nourishing, wholesome foods for their families. So, the brief asks students to consider how best to engage, educate and empower these groups to improve their general wellbeing.
‘I will attend specific class sessions to give feedback on the students’ assessment tasks and share my understanding of the real-world implementation scenarios.’
Talking about Food Education Australia, Lloyd Bristow says, ‘While it is a small organisation, they are making a major, positive impact, working with some of the most vulnerable groups in society. That social impact and the alignment with health promotion and public health and nutrition fit in really nicely with what the students learn in theory. Now the Live Brief Project gives them the opportunity to apply that learning to real situations.
‘Kay Richardson has been incredibly generous with her time, working with us to create a relevant brief for the students and sharing her experience and wisdom with them.’
Opportunity for students to develop diverse soft and hard skills through Live Brief
In the Live Brief Project, students will apply the academic knowledge and skills they acquire during their course and develop practical and real-world industry experience. They'll also learn communication and collaboration skills by working together in groups. As well as thinking about how to work with each other, in the project they need to find the most appropriate, respectful and effective ways to comminate with the people described in their brief.
‘At Food Education Australia,’ Kay Richardson explains, ‘we take what's called a human-centred approach. We place ourselves in the shoes of the person we're trying to reach. And quite often we will ask for collaboration with those people and their community, if that's possible, because we don't presume to know what their circumstances are, and every circumstance is different.
‘When students emerge from their course as nutritionists, they need to have some idea of how to assess people’s needs, and how to engage on a person-to-person level as opposed to coming in and telling people what to do.’
Bringing industry experience to Nutrition students all around Australia
The subject, Special Populations Project, is run online, which means that final-year Bachelor of Nutrition students all around the country can take part in the Live Brief Project.
‘One of the reasons why we wanted to move away from the traditional placement model and engage in an industry live brief is that every student can then have the same opportunities,’ Lloyd explains. ‘While some of our students are in metropolitan centres, others live in rural and remote areas, and they might not have many placement opportunities. We designed this project so everyone could take part and learn from it, no matter where they live. And then they can do a lot of good in their own communities when they graduate as nutritionists.’