Mahmoud Shaaban- PG Cert in Food Regulatory Affairs

Name: Mahmoud Shaaban

Job title: Quality Projects Manager International Third Party Manufacturing

Can you share your career path to date?
After I graduated from the science faculty, Alexandria University (Egypt) – I worked in Various fields till 2007 I joined Cadbury as a Quality specialist then into many roles in Cadbury, FS Leader at Kraftfoods (Mondelez), Plant Quality & Food Safety Manager (Egypt), BU Quality, FS and regulatory Manager at Danone (Iraq), QA Manager at Al Safi Danone (KSA), QA Manager at Dairygold (Ireland), Site Quality Lead at Dairygold (Ireland) and now Quality Project Manager – International TPMs at Abbott Nutrition (Ireland).

What does your current role involve?
Ensure the Quality, food safety and regulatory standards are meeting Abbott’s standards, customer/consumers’ expectations, and local/international standards. Leading the Quality function at the designated TPMs in the business-as-usual and project activities.

What motivated you to start studying?
2 motivations indeed, first I was guided by the guidelines of the central teams for the majority of my life without understanding the legislative base behind it regarding the food safety and quality requirements. Second, when I joined my role in Ireland there was a knowledge gap for me about the EU regulations for food and drinks.

Why did you choose this course from ATU Sligo?
Fortunately, it’s a unique course with its structure in Ireland and also one of our senior managers had it before me and advised me to choose it when we discussed how to improve my regulatory learning curve.

How did you find the process of studying online? What elements did you find helpful? Were there elements you found challenging?
The remote (online) learning is very useful for the distant students, as for me I’m based in Cork, and it would be a big challenge to travel weekly to attend the sessions. There is a big value for the students to network at the campus when meeting face to face but I would highly recommend keeping the remote option and/or blended learning style.

How did you balance work and study?
Challenging, but continuous learning is a must in nowadays professional life and not a luxury anymore. Also, full credit to our lecturers for their support and flexibility to accommodate us through this challenge.

In terms of your employer, were they supportive of your decision to study? Were there elements of the course that were particularly relevant to your current employer?
My employer (Dairygold at that time) was extra-supportive in all aspects and The company had and still has a program to support the continuous learning for its employees. The course had many relevant contents and topics to my carrier and previous and current employers.

What advice would you have for anyone considering studying online?
Build your network with your colleagues and lecturers by reaching out to them individually and in groups to stay connected

In what way has studied online with ATU Sligo benefitted your career?
It allowed me to fulfil my career goals while being able to learn and study, and also it allowed me to explore the possibilities in online learning and use those tools in many events.

Did this course provide any unexpected benefits to your career?
I was able to discuss and solve with a scientific background some of the unexpected regulatory challenges. It opened for me a new stream of opportunities in the food and drinks field.

Did you find that the elements you were studying had practical relevance in your day-to-day role?
As a food manufacturing site, we had audits and visits from DAFM, and through the course, I found a mutual understanding of the requirements and inquiries from DAFM which allowed the team to meet the expectations.

What were the key skills you took away from your time studying at ATU Sligo?
A thorough understanding of the EU food and drinks regulatory hierarchy, structure and requirements allow me taking informed-base decisions.

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