Are you planning a second career?

New for 2022, the MDS Leadership and Management scheme offers an exciting opportunity for people wishing to start a second career. Whatever your age or background, if you have completed several years in a role that gave you leadership or managerial experience, then we would be interested in talking to you.

The Leadership and Management scheme is one of three MDS programmes that equip people for a fruitful career in the fast-paced food industry. Hardworking, highly motivated individuals will relish the challenge of this two-year programme. Successful candidates become MDS associates, working towards a formal Level 5 qualification accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. This modular training prepares you for future leadership positions and is supported by mentoring to help you reach your potential.

Each MDS associate also undertakes a series of placements in member businesses, in roles that give real responsibility from the start. MDS members represent all aspects of the food, fresh produce, horticulture and agriculture supply chain, from growers to supermarkets. Your placements will each last for six months or a year and will cover a range of different functions, from marketing to operations, HR to business planning. You may be asked to complete a specific project for one business, whilst for another, you may find yourself running a packing plant.

As our members are based around the UK (and some overseas), you are highly likely to be asked to relocate for each placement. If your family circumstances make that difficult then we will endeavour to find local placements for you.

At the end of each programme, our members are invited to make offers of permanent roles to our associates, 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 that you have relevant experience and transferrable skills. We do not expect associates to be educated to degree level, but we do look for people with the potential to succeed in a leadership role.

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. Associates 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. If you are looking for a second career, then you may just find it in the food industry.
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Ready to apply? Complete our application form