What type of secondments do you offer / have you recently offered?
Quite a wide range. We currently have a secondment in the HR team. This is focussing on developing and filming training material, putting role descriptions into a new updated format, managing our annual “Staff Opinion Survey”, updating our induction and reviewing our recognition system. Prior to this we have had a Technical secondment, which has involved working on shrouded pallet trials, fresh transit filter trials, “It’s fresh” trials, and working on a project regarding pear shelf life analysis. We have also in the past offered an Environmental secondment, as well as several in Commercial and Operations.
How do you get the most out of your MDS trainees?
By being honest with them up front. Just as with any other recruit, if people find out their brief is different once they arrive, they will feel let down and the trust will be broken. You have to ensure they have a good induction, with access to all parts of the business, so they feel welcome and can ask questions. The secondment manager also needs to be fully briefed (preferably having done the MDS Secondment Manager training).
Are there any MDS alumni working in your business?
There will be in a few weeks’ time when one of the current MDS leavers joins us. Until recently we had another MDS alumni with us, but he has left to join Greenyard Fresh – another MDS member!
Would you recommend MDS to other businesses and why?
Of course I would. The trainees are there because they want to be there and are of a great calibre. Generally I find they are bright, enthusiastic, and have excellent communication skills. Obviously, as with any new people to the business, you need to give them time. But I have always found that MDS trainees pick things up really quickly and bring a refreshing viewpoint.
What have you gained from attending Meet the Trainee events?
It has helped us determine if trainees are really interested. Those that are will keep in touch with you and maintain contact. It certainly helps us with planning all sorts of future projects.