Are you ready to lead?

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, 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.

Do you qualify?

To be considered for MDS, you will need to demonstrate leadership potential. Whilst academic achievement is important, and most of our trainees have achieved at least a 2:1 degree, it is not the primary basis on which we select our trainees. We are interested in hard-working, highly motivated people who are able to develop their own ideas, set realistic goals and lead others.

To apply, you must be prepared and able to relocate every six months. Each application is reviewed independently, and the offer of employment will be subject to appropriate right-to-work checks. A range of our Member companies are based in rural locations some Trainees may be required to travel, it is the Trainee’s responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate means to travel for work.

This is a fast-paced industry in which salaries are rising quickly. Trainees are employed by MDS at £25,000 per annum, rising to £26,000 in year two with an additional tax-free £500 relocation allowance per secondment move. MDS is a limited programme, which accepts around 10% of applications. If you are ready to become part of a network of future leaders on the fast track to career success, apply now.
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