Name: Aoife Cronin
Lives: Crosshaven, Co Cork
Job title: Cork Nutritional Therapist for Glenville Nutrition Ireland. Nutrition Lecturer, Unit Leader and Tutor for the Institute of Health Sciences
Salary bracket: Self-employed so varies depending on level and nature of work I agree to take on, but enough to pay for what I need and a nice holiday!
Ballincollig Community School, one year of B Comm degree in UCC (at age 17 which wasn’t for me!) followed by Travel and Tourism in CIT.
Eleven years ago, I took the opportunity to go back and study Nutritional Therapy which was something I was always interested in. This involved four intensive years of study about 20 hours a week while working full time, and I have followed this up with Health and Wellness Coaching training from the Institute of Health Sciences.
My job also requires continuous professional development and I get the opportunity to keep up to date on new research through training with Dr Marilyn Glenville every six weeks.
Hobbies: Walking my dog, cooking, horse-riding and reading when time allows.
Describe your job in five words: Rewarding, interesting, challenging, supportive, problem solving.
Describe yourself in five words: Friendly, empathetic, flexible, determined, conscientious.
Personality needed for this kind of work?
You need to be able to connect with people of all ages and personality types. So, it’s important to be a good communicator and empathetic to different people’s situations.
Being interested in science and committed to ongoing education is important too.
How long are you doing this job?
Approximately seven years.
How did you get this job?
I worked for over 15 years in customer-facing positions in tourism and customer service and always enjoyed problem solving and customer interaction. I was often involved in supervisory or staff training as part of these roles.
I had always been interested in nutrition and science having studied these in secondary school and I graduated with distinction from the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) a few weeks before my son was born in 2010.
I had my own nutrition clinic for a while and was also offered a position as a tutor with the college with whom I had studied.
I kept up the teaching work throughout two further pregnancies and took on more senior roles within the college.
After taking a break from clinic work for a few years after my first daughter was born in 2013, I was approached last year by Heather Leeson, Nutritional Therapist and Director of Glenville Nutrition, to take over and expand their existing Cork clinic. I had previously volunteered for Glenville Nutrition at an exhibition several years prior to that and so was familiar with their evidence-based and integrative approach to health and nutrition.
Do you need particular qualifications or experience? To become a Nutritional Therapist, you need to complete a four-year Diploma so that you can gain insurance and become a member of the NTOI (Nutritional Therapists of Ireland).
Then ongoing CPD is required to ensure you are abreast of any new evidence and research in the industry.
Only certain courses that reach a standard qualify for entry to the NTOI and allow you to use the term ‘Nutritional Therapist’.
Describe a day at work: This depends on what my role is for the day. If I am in the clinic I will spend a few hours prepping for my clients (creating meal plans, information sheets, recipes or interpreting test results) and then travel to the clinic in Victoria Cross, Cork. Then I will see individuals or sometimes couples for a range of health conditions requiring nutritional support.
We specialise in nutritional support for fertility, menopause, osteoporosis, PCOS and digestive conditions.
We also provide individual weight loss programmes and healthy eating courses for groups and corporate clients.
September 19 will be the first time we bring the 12-week programme based on Dr Marilyn Glenville’s Lose Fat Around The Middle book to Cork (Bru Columbanus, Wilton). Previously, it has run very successfully in Dublin and Galway, so this will entail coaching small groups of people one hour per week for a period of 12 weeks to help them reach their weight loss and health goals.
On other days, I could be providing nutritional assessments for our corporate clients which would typically entail a 9 to 5 day, meeting with people individually in their workplace and perhaps providing a ‘lunch and learn’ talk to a group in between.
When working for IHS, I could be lecturing all day Saturday and Sunday in Dublin or working from home marking assessments on my laptop and providing Skype tutorials.
How many hours do you work a week?
This varies, currently it is approximately 20 to 30 hours a week as I am seeing clients in the clinic, preparing for the new course in September and completing end of year assessment marking for the college.
What do you wear to work?
Clinic work and lecturing is business casual dress code, so dress or trousers and blouse with heels normally.
Is your industry male or female dominated?
Mostly female though there are some men in the industry.
Does this affect you in any particular way?
No, I find it a very supportive industry to work in.
Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10:
It can sometimes reach 6/10 if I have a particularly busy week when juggling family and work but I love it and wouldn’t change it!
My husband and family are a great support and very encouraging of my career choice.
Do you work with others or on your own?
In a consultation or as a lecturer/tutor I work on my own but as part of a wider team. In Glenville Nutrition, there are seven staff across four clinics in Ireland (Cork, Dublin, Galway and Kilkenny) making us one of the largest Nutritional Therapy practices in the country.
We are also part of a larger team with clinic offices in Harley Street, London, amongst others in the UK. So, this is a great support, working together to share knowledge and experiences, keeping up to date with research and professional development.
Recently, we travelled as a team over to Dr Marilyn Glenville’s clinic in Tunbridge Wells in England for training on new research related to gut health.
I am also lucky to be mentored by one of the company directors, Ciara Wright PhD, who has published her own research and presented at international fertility conferences.
When do you plan to retire or give up working?
No plans yet, when the children are older I would like to be able to work a bit more but for now, part time work suits me and I have no plans to retire.
Best bits: Meeting people, helping them understand and make sense of all the nutrition information that is out there and how it applies to them.
Seeing my students start their career and graduate.
Seeing how great clients can feel when they make positive changes to their nutrition and lifestyle.
Worst bits: Spelling mistakes in student assessments!
Advice to those who want your job?
If you like working with people, are interested in science and nutrition, and are open to ongoing learning, then go for it.
Any other comments?
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the nutritional advice that is available to us now then I advise seeking out a Nutritional Therapist to provide personalised nutrition advice for you and your specific circumstances. One size does not fit all!
See www.glenvillenutrition.ie for more