The MDS grad scheme challenges from the start. Experience a range of roles with real responsibility in up to 4 different supply-chain companies.
The food and fresh produce supply chain is the largest manufacturing sector in the country and MDS nurtures talented graduates to become future leaders in this innovative, diverse, and sustainable industry. MDS represents all aspects of food, fresh produce, horticulture, and agriculture, from growers all the way to supermarkets.
MDS is a non-profit organisation that was set up in 1986 by a group of forward-thinking growers concerned about the shortage of skilled managers within the industry. Our current membership stands at over 60+ businesses and this continues to grow year on year. The collaboration of MDS and industry leading businesses has fast-tracked the career of over 500+ graduates.
The MDS graduate scheme is like no other. Designed for university leavers with leadership potential, it challenges from the start. Trainees develop their leadership skills in roles with real responsibility in several different companies during the two-year programme. At the same time, you will work towards a Level 5 Leadership and Management qualification, Operations and Departmental Manager, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.
MDS members represent all aspects of the food, fresh produce, horticulture and agriculture supply chain, from growers to supermarkets. During your two years at MDS, you will undertake at least three placements of 6 – 12 months in member companies, giving you the broadest possible opportunity and experience. This allows you to explore your strengths, motivation and ideal fit without making a long-term commitment to one role or business.
You will be given time off by your placement to attend the modular training necessary to achieve our formal leadership qualification specific to the food industry. Throughout the programme, you will also be supported with mentoring to help you reach your potential.
As our members are based around the UK (and some overseas) you should expect to relocate for each new placement. The roles available cover the full range of disciplines, from marketing to engineering, operations to HR, and logistics to business planning. You may find you spend six months running a project in a food processing plant and then move to a fruit farm to supervise a team of pickers. What you can be sure of is that whichever roles you undertake, you will be expected to deliver results: MDS trainees have a reputation for achieving objectives through creative problem-solving.
At the end of the programme, our members are invited to make offers of permanent roles to our trainees, which usually results in every individual securing employment. MDS alumni now number over 500 and hold senior positions in many leading businesses. We keep in touch with our alumni through regular updates and networking opportunities.
The recruitment process
There are three stages of the application process:
Website Application – no testing, it takes around 30/40 minutes to complete
Virtual Assessment Centre
Cultures and values
MDS empowers its Trainees by giving them the opportunity, guidance and support to become future leaders. We empower our Members to protect their future leadership pipelines by giving them access to Trainees for secondments and permanent roles, providing training and guidance in effective management and opportunities to promote their businesses to alumni and Trainees
MDS promotes a can-do attitude amongst its staff and Trainees. We encourage taking individual responsibility, asking questions, being helpful, flexible, looking ahead and valuing the team.
MDS values diversity and being accessible to all. Membership is encouraged with a wide range of business types. We actively recruit from a wide range of backgrounds and promote the use of varied skillsets within the industry.
MDS works together with Trainees to help them achieve their goals. We work with our Members to fulfil their needs. Members and MDS work together to train and develop the future leaders of the food and fresh produce industry.
Equality and diversity
MDS are proud supporters of Women in Food and Farming, Agrespect and IGD. We work in collaboration with these organisations to support the development of a diverse future leadership pipeline through programmes like the Reverse Mentoring Scheme. Our management training programme also includes mandatory modules on inclusion and diversity from recruitment all the way to leadership.
Coaching and Mentoring
Relocation allowance and interest free starter loan