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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore to tātou waka e ū ki uta

Industry experience enhances teacher knowledge

Ritu Sehji upskilled through a Royal Society fellowship, allowing her to make industry links.

Duration: 02:42


Ritu Sehji: So last year I had an Endeavour Teacher Fellowship, offered to me by the Royal Society of New Zealand. It allowed me to work with my host organisation, Goodman Fielder. It helped me to upskill my knowledge and in all fields of food technology to enhance my teaching and learning.

I had a few main objectives, it was a self-directed research project that I was working on, and the first one was to look at processes and procedures and new product development. Then I also looked at alternate substitute ingredients and these ingredients were to increase the shelf life, but keeping in mind that it did not affect the sensory aspects of the food product. More and more the companies are looking at clean labels and it is really important to understand those specialist ingredients that make the product low in cost but keep the sensory aspect still the same. It helped me to look at substitute ingredients and also where to source them from.

Coming back to school this year, I have been able to maintain those links with industry and I have gone back to them and asked them for specialist ingredients, such as emulsifiers, high heat milk powder, and a few new flavours.

In the past I’ve looked at cross-curricular lengths and it’s usually in product design. The girls have gone in there and done some vacuum forming for moulds and looked at bending metal to make some metal cutters. But having visited the plants that Goodman Fielder owns and also visiting the universities, I went to see the head of faculty of science, and we discussed some ideas about how my students may be able to use the knowledge that the science teachers have to help them with their food technology projects.

So when the students have been creating their food product I have been encouraging them to go and speak to their teachers and see what the chemistry behind the ingredients was, or what the structure of the ingredient looked like. What would be the test that they would have had to undertake if it was lipids, or if it was a protein, what kind of testing would they need to do? If they needed to check viscosity, are there any tools available that would help them? Or a picture analyser? So always good because the students felt much more confident and because the teachers were already aware of what we were doing that they could seek assistance and feedback and talk to their teachers.

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