Graduate scheme

Mainland Europe


MDS Graduate Management Scheme

Graduates (known as MDS Management Trainees) are placed in four different roles over two years in up to four different industry leading businesses, and this could be anywhere in the UK with the possibility of some overseas placements. Placements (known as secondments) come with real responsibility and are combined with formal off-the-job training and mentoring. The MDS Trainees are employed by MDS at a salary of £22,000 in the first year and rising to £23,000 in the second year.

Benefits of applying to the MDS Graduate Management Scheme:

The variety of the professional experience in up to four MDS member companies is so difficult to put a price tag on. However, this feedback is given time and time again by MDS Management Trainees as the most valuable element of the MDS Graduate Scheme. The other major benefit is the Management and Leadership Level 5 qualification, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.

  • Secondments expose trainees to the whole supply chain in one of the most sustainable industries in the world
  • Trainees have two years to experience a variety of roles and businesses before deciding where they fit best. Condensing five years of industry knowledge into two years
  • Trainees are supported throughout the programme by a designated Secondment Manager, Academic Tutor as well as the MDS People Development Team
  • Relocation allowance of £300.00 each time a trainee moves accommodation for a secondment
  • Access to a £500.00 interest free loan when starting with MDS
  • Employee Assistance Programme

Here are some more of the benefits after completing the MDS Graduate Scheme:

  • Fast track entry into a fast-paced and innovative industry which is actively seeking fresh talent, MDS trainees are in high demand
  • 100% track record for full time employment in an industry with job security
  • Average starting salary of £30,000 to £35,000
  • Access to an extensive network of companies and industry contacts (via your placements, training and networking events each 6 months)
  • Examples of the excellent and diverse career prospects are: Commercial Manager, Project Management, Operations Management, HR Manager or Procurement Manager - the opportunities are extensive.


  • Trainees are employed by MDS for a minimum of two years
  • Trainees gain work experience via a series of secondments which are usually for a six-month duration in different businesses
  • A trainee’s MDS Profile/CV is circulated to all members every 6 months
  • Secondments are allocated based on current ability, individual development needs, and experience to date
  • Typical secondments within the supply chain can be: Commercial, Operations, Procurement, Farm, Marketing, Technical, NPD and Project Management
  • Interview practice: Trainees are interviewed for each of secondment, standing a trainee in good stead for interviews for permanent roles on completing the programme
  • Trainees will be allocated secondments based anywhere in the UK
  • There are some opportunities for secondments based outside of the UK
  • There is a requirement to relocate every six months, placement changeover takes place in April and October

MDS Training

MDS delivers a widely-respected and renowned training programme that, year-after-year, gives trainees the skills they need to achieve credible positions within the food and fresh produce industry.

The training programme is a Level 5 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute . Each Trainee is assessed and receives tailored critique matched to their personal development, ensuring a truly unique learning experience.

The MDS Graduate Scheme has an impressive record of trainees moving into well-paid and responsible jobs on completion of the programme and this is testament to the first-class formal training and practical experience each trainee receives.

We are looking for candidates that:

  • Can demonstrate strong leadership potential
  • Can respect the views of others
  • Can set realistic and achievable goals, for themselves and others
  • Likes to get results
  • Can identify and resolve problems
  • Can use their own ideas and value the ideas of others
  • Recognise the need for their own and others’ learning/development within a fast-moving industry


  • Have achieved (or expect to achieve) at least a 2:1 degree in any subject, although in exceptional circumstances we will consider candidates with a 2:2
  • Have a driving licence and use of a car by the time you start MDS (due to some rural locations/shift work out of public transport hours)
  • Be eligible to work in the UK
  • Relocate every six months – as you progress through your placements

How to Apply

The MDS Management Graduate Scheme has two intakes per year, in April and October. To apply click the button below.

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