Magdalena Drabble

Head of Quality, Jersey Dairy

My role is to establish, implement, supervise, administer and monitor business assurance programs to ensure policies and procedures are consistently followed. The prime objective of my role is to ensure that all products leaving Jersey Dairy are safe and the next objective is to ensure that they are consistently of a high quality. My first task of a day is to communicate with the team in order to ensure there is no emerging issues that needs to be immediately resolved. My work is based around the continuous technical communication with a whole Jersey Dairy team, Jersey Dairy customers, accreditation and statutory bodies. I chair Food Safety HACCP Committee and I am involved in many other company processes i.e. new product development, health and safety.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
You need to be very organised and motivated. You need to be very keen to increase your knowledge continuously and I take every opportunity to learn. You need to enjoy studying!

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past?
If so, what was that and was it easy to do? Well, I had few career ideas in the past, medicine or veterinary studies, but also food science, technology and quality control that I found quite interesting at the time. I enjoyed microbiology, chemistry and biology and I liked laboratory work, so this was something that I found would be very good for myself. However, I decided to study science in the end. Probably interest to microbiology won at the time!

What do you love most about working in your career area?
Technical aspects, top industry packing and testing equipment machines. There are always new developments in this area. As an example, we installed BactoScan machine in the Jersey Dairy laboratory that counts individual count of bacteria in raw milk in nine minutes. There were only six machines in UK in National Milk Laboratories at the time. Bactoscan helped us to achieve the lowest raw milk bacteria counts comparing them to many raw milk counts in other countries in EU, including UK.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
Working in technical and quality role in the manufacturing industry and quickly growing business, you need to be aware that this is highly demanding position in terms of workload and technical knowledge. It will require continuous learning as industry changes quickly and there are emerging risks that you will need to look at and react as quickly as possible. You will need to be very systematic and organised. You need to work at high speed at all times and be very motivated and confident that what you are doing will pay and it is a key to business short and long term success.

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
I have MSc in Engineering and also a degree in Quality management and Control in Food Economy. I am currently studying at University of Reading doctorate programme in Sustainable Food Quality for Health. I also undertake regular training programmes frequently.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
You need to like science, technology and nutrition. You also need to like working with people and have excellent communication skills. However the key to success in this role is a motivation to study. I just love studying, training courses and learning new things. Even though, quite a big part of my job is office based, you have also a more active aspects involved in food production and laboratory testing environment. This is very nice and I can ensure that is not boring at all.