Support at MDS – TAG

Support at MDS – TAG

There’s a vast support network of Trainees on the MDS graduate scheme. The MDS Trainees in Action group (TAG) is run by Trainees for Trainees. The group offer a range of support via social events, professional development opportunities and online meet ups.

According to TAG reps Orla (group 46) and Ruby (group 48) the purpose of the group is to encourage Trainee development.

“We aim to facilitate Trainee networks, promote professional development and link trainees to members and alumni. We meet weekly to discuss projects and plan events which Trainees can get involved in, along with collaborating on projects with the MDS office.”

The reps highlighted how the group has become more important than ever due to the growth of the MDS programme and pandemic.

“TAG is important in a scheme like MDS because there are over 60 Trainees now. We are all ‘in the same boat’ moving to different companies and new places. The more we support each other and develop connections, the more we will all gain from our MDS experience.”

“I think TAG has become even more important during COVID-19 because our face-to-face training has moved online. Unfortunately Trainees haven’t had as much of an opportunity to mix as we usually would. We have enabled this by organising various online events which has helped expand these networks.”

The Future of TAG

Despite many of the 2020 TAG events being cancelled when the pandemic hit, the group maintained regular online meetups and worked with MDS staff to raise over £1000 for FareShare. They also have plenty of big plans for the future.

“We are hoping to reschedule some of the events which had to be postponed due to COVID-19, which included a wine and cheese night at Sainsburys HQ, a visit to an Aldi regional distribution centre and a day at the races. For now, we are planning more Trainee ‘get-togethers’ over zoom which allows Trainees to interact with those in other groups. We have also collaborated with the MDS team to put on a ‘grow your own sunflower’ competition.”

Meet the TAG reps

Support Why did you apply to MDS? During my University degree I did a placement year doing field trials and was fully absorbed into the world of agriculture. In response to this, I talked to colleagues to find the best way into the industry and the most recurring theme was ‘MDS’. MDS seemed like a great opening into this world as well as having the appeal that it promoted future leaders of the food industry. 2. Why did you decide to become a TAG rep? With Covid-19, I had not met many trainees bar my group over Zoom. TAG I thought would be a great way to meet more trainees and create some valuable connections with others in the program. 3. What are the benefits of becoming a TAG rep? Apart from the increased networking opportunities it allows you to develop skills in communications as well as allowing you to build relationships with the trainees, MDS Team and Covid allowing, member organisations.Support 1. I chose MDS because of their strong industry reputation and the unique opportunity to work in a range of businesses within the sector. 2. I joined TAG because another trainee who was already on the team suggested I would be a good fit. It seemed like a great opportunity to expand my network and make a difference. I joined during my first secondment and am now in my final role, so I’ve been involved form the early days, so it’s been great to see the team grow and look back on all the achievements. 3. There are so many benefits – for me the best ones are getting to know trainees in other groups, which is something that’s become a challenge during covid as we haven’t had any face-to-face training. It’s also helped develop various skills alongside my normal role such as organisation and team working. Being on TAG has helped fill time in all three of the lockdowns when most of us have been quite isolated, so it’s been nice to have a general catch up with other trainees alongside the meeting topics. Support Support Why did you apply to MDS? For me MDS presented the opportunity to gain real world experience at an incredible selection of companies in an industry that I am passionate about. It was clear that if I wanted to get as much exposure as possible, MDS was the way to go. On top of this it provided the opportunity to live in four different locations and explore new areas both in the UK and abroad. Why did you decide to become a TAG rep? TAG seemed like a great place to get to know some of my fellow trainees and get involved in organising some of the events and activities that TAG put on. I liked what TAG was trying to do and wanted to be part of it. What are the benefits of becoming a TAG rep? TAG bridges the gap between the different groups of trainees but also between the trainees and the members and so as a TAG representative you get to be at the heart of that. This allows you to meet trainees from all groups as well as interact with member companies. It is also very rewarding as I feel TAG brings real benefits to trainees such as the virtual get togethers we organised. I think these really helped out the trainees who may be a long way from home and in lockdown, they provided the closest thing to social evening which have been few and far between recently.