Felicity Hares – BSc (Hons) Dietetics graduate

Current employer: Sport Wales Institute

Current job title: Senior Performance Dietitian & Strategic Lead for Workforce Development

Current location: Cardiff

"I took three clinical placements which shaped me as a professional - shadowing dietitians in a variety of environments and building skills of reflection which have been essential throughout my career."  

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Band 5 post at Morriston Hospital, ABMU Health Board, then left to pursue MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University alongside a bank dietetic role at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation trust. I completed the MSc in September 2012 and then spent three months volunteering with sport dietitians in Australia/New Zealand. I returned to the UK and moved to London to start a role as a specialist dietitian at London Bridge Hospital. In March 2013 I applied for an opportunity in Cardiff at Sport Wales Institute to provide support for Welsh Gymnastics one day a week alongside my role at London Bridge Hospital. 

In May 2014 a full time opportunity came up at Sport Wales and I took the plunge to move to Cardiff to expand delivery for Welsh Gymnastics and take on Disability Sport Wales. I attended the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with these athletes and then also the Baku 2015 European Games in Azerbaijan, working on the nutrition kiosk in the athlete dining hall. 

In April 2016 I successfully applied for the opportunity to take on the Strategic Lead of Workforce Development role two days per week and as a result transferred to supporting Welsh Athletics and Para-Athletics in a dual-role. In April 2017 I achieved the role of a Senior Practitioner and as part of my strategic responsibilities I line manage the Clinical Lead and Lead Performance Analyst at the Institute. We are working hard towards Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo 2020.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

I took three clinical placements which shaped me as a professional - shadowing dietitians in a variety of environments and building skills of reflection which have been essential throughout my career.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Coaches! They’re worse than any consultant, but it’s only because they are so passionate.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Cheering on the gymnasts at Glasgow 2014, seeing Frankie Jones win multiple medals and being awarded the outstanding achievement award. Travelling to St Moritz to support a Race Walking altitude camp.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

Don’t rush or worry about forcing things to happen – if you work hard opportunities will come your way. And what you do on placement affects your career prospects!

If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do differently?

Unsure on this one – perhaps spend more time consolidating advanced communication skills/BCT/MI, they come in useful everyday.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Volunteer – you’ll get so much back.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Yes, I remember Avril Collinson as a useful lecturer. And the course was well structured with formal lectures, problem-based learning and consultation skills. 

I met the best group of friends who have supported me the whole way! My four best friends are dietetic graduates.

My favourite memories of studying at Plymouth are going to the beach and graduation on the Hoe.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Performance nutrition is a very rewarding career – we need more dietitians in it!

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying dietetics please visit our BSc (Hons) Dietetics page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Health Professions, please visit the school page.

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