Wakeman Nutrition

Wakeman Nutrition was established in 2017 by Mel Wakeman (MSc. RNutr). She provides a professional nutritional advice and wellness consultancy service for companies that want to improve health and well-being in the workplace. Mel also works with schools, sports clubs and private clients.

Sector : Health, Social & Childcare

Where is your business based?

Halesowen (from home) but I also work from a physiotherapy practice in central Birmingham and work with businesses across the Midlands

What is your name?

Mel Wakeman

What is your role within the business?

Owner and consultant which means I do everything!

What does your business do?

For my private clients, I am their pocket expert nutritionist - I provide tailored advice and continuous support, helping them make the dietary and lifestyle changes they want or need to. Our health is our wealth so for me, it's ensuring my clients can enjoy the most important things in life. For businesses I design and deliver bespoke workshops and programmes that aim to increase health and happiness in the workplace. For a forward thinking company, this is about boosting the productivity and strengthening their bottom line. For sports clubs I provide educational workshops around specific training needs e.g. nutrition advice for swimmers, cycling and running groups for both adults and children.

What is special about your business - what makes it a great place to work?

I created it. Working for myself is great. I choose where and when to work so that it fits around my family and personal life. I became self employed after 22 years in the nutrition and health industry so it feels great to focus purely on the things I love doing. I don't usually b low my own trumpet but I have a lot of credibility! I always emphasise my nutrition qualifications, significant experience and the fact that I am a Registered Nutritionist. Did you know that 'Nutritionist' is not a protected title? Unlike a nurse or doctor, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist! In theory you could complete a £15 online nutrition course then say you are qualified to provide nutrition advice. Of course you aren't and this is potentially extremely dangerous. I was a senior lecturer in applied physiology and nutrition so my advice has a scientific evidence base, is current and most importantly safe. Having an ethical business is vital; where the clients needs come first. I am embracing digital healthcare, or telehealth. I use an online platform to run much of my business, which means I can coach online, offer video / tele consultations and stay in touch with my clients in real time through an app. It has massively streamlined my business and my clients love it too.

How many people do you employ?

Just me!

What skills and qualities do you look for in new employees? Why should people look at jobs in this sector?

If I was to employ another advisor, they must have an accredited BSc. (Hons) Degree in Human Nutrition or Nutrition Science. They should also be working towards Full Registration with the AfN, The Association for Nutrition. They must be approachable, open minded and willing to learn, committed, non-judgemental, have a sense of humour!

What other job roles do you have in your business?

None yet but you never know!

How do I apply for opportunities?

n/a

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Mel Wakeman

Job role: Education

Describe what you do in your job. What is a typical day like?

Fantastic! Incredibly rewarding - I feel privileged to be in the position where I can truly change peoples lives . It is also very hard work setting up a business; you learn a huge amount in a very short space of time, need to take knock backs, get back up, learn from your mistakes and keep going!

Was this your first job? What other jobs or work experience have you had?

No, my first job was a cleaner in a retirement home for the elderly. I was then waitress and worked in a few pubs before heading off to university after getting my A levels. My first 'proper' job was a lecturing position at the British College of Osteopathic medicine in London, teaching nutrition and exercise physiology.

What process did you have to follow to get your job?

I needed A levels in Science to get into University. I studied A level Biology, Chemistry and Physics and AS Math. I actually didn't do that well in my exams but got into the University of Nottingham through clearing. I then got a Masters (MSc.) in Nutrition and Physical Activity in London which got my post graduate qualification that I needed to enter teaching at Higher Education Level. I got my first lecturing position in London, then moved up to Birmingham after 6 years to work at a university here. I became a senior lecturer in Nutrition and Applied Physiology and worked there for over 16 years before launching my own business. During those 16 years I taught nurses, paramedics, midwives and health studies and nutrition science. I developed courses, managed the nutrition degree and teaching team and was asked a lot to comment in the media as an expert. I became a media champion at the university and have been interviewed on radio (Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, BBC WM) been on ITV and Midlands Today and written in many newspapers, magazines and professional health publications. I was also a workplace health champion at the university which inspired me to begin that line of work in my own business, 10 months after starting wakeman nutrition. All these things built my skills, experience and confidence to work for myself.

What is great about your job? What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Helping people. To put my knowledge, skills and experience into practice to help people is amazing. I have a huge amount of job satisfaction and get a lot of reward for doing what I love doing. Meeting people. I network a lot in order to meet people face to face. People buy from people and I have learnt that running a business well is all about building relationships. Being my own boss feels great. My confidence meeting and talking to new people has soared - working with people on a 1-1 and very personal basis and business networking is very different to standing up in front of 20-200 students in a lecture theatre!

What training do you get at work to help you do your job role?

I am responsible for my own professional development. It is essential for me to keep up to date with developments in nutrition science. I use social media a lot to do this - Twitter is excellent for connecting with other nutritional academics and professionals and remaining current with Government policy. To become registered with the Association for Nutrition I had to submit a portfolio of evidence that demonstrated not only my qualifications, skills and experience but also my continued professional development through attending conferences, workshops, reading and writing so I also continue to do this.

What skills are required to do your job?

Academic skills - subject knowledge and ability to apply knowledge, presentation skills Professional skills - consulting and coaching, public speaking, teaching Personal Skills - communication; listening, appropriate use of body language etc. Empathy, sensitivity, assertiveness IT - competence in writing, developing presentations, social media

What role-specific qualifications do you think are needed to do your job?

Professional Registration is vital for credibility Employers and companies are seeking this status and it has become an expectation and pre-requisite for most roles.

What was the highest level of qualification you needed from school, college or university to do your role?

  • Level 8 - Doctoral Degree, Ph.D.

What subject options (curriculum subjects) would you recommend someone chooses to do your role?

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Medical Sciences
  • Science

What is your personality type?

  • Entrepreneur - Smart, energetic and very wise people, who truly enjoy living on the edge.

Do you have any interests that complement your job role?

  • travelling
  • cookery
  • tv/radio
  • blog/vlog
  • computer/IT
  • reading
  • social media

How many years of experience do you need to do your job?

  • 4 - 6 years experience

How much can you earn in your job?

  • £30,000 – £40,000

Education