Prior to MDS I found myself trying to pursue different career paths within the Agricultural sector, wanting to be more than a tractor driver on home farm, I looked for managerial/consultancy roles across the country, aiming to utilise my degree in Agriculture and Farm Business Management. After a year of countless call back interviews, I continued to fall at the final hurdle, regularly due to my lack of experience.
Coincidently after a year of working at home, we took on a new agronomist by the name of Matt Kettlewell. A product of the MDS system himself, he mentioned that he once found himself in a very similar situation and highly recommended applying for the course “and do it right away!”
The next thing I knew I was moving to Sussex to begin working with Natures Way Foods in Quality Control and beginning my journey through with MDS. Natures Way opened my eyes to inner workings and logistics of a factory; described to me a grass roots role, it brought me into the world of fresh produce learning about food quality and quality management. From this I moved just around the corner to Barfoots of Botley as a Harvest/Crop manager and suddenly I had a team of over 100 pickers to organise, the learning curve was steep and each day brought a new set of challenges and stresses; but to have this experience under my belt is invaluable, completely changing my mind set on business and people management. After the Summer working at BOB I ventured north to Lincolnshire to work with Daffodils in the commercial department at what is now Greenyard Flowers, formally Winchester Growers. I always understood the value of the commercial side of any business, so I wanted to gain experience in this sector to benefit me in the future; however, along with a host of analytical skills I quickly learnt that an office life was not for me! This revelation meant that for my fourth and final secondment I wanted to get back in the field! This for me was a must, which actually resulted in a role being slightly harder to come by, whether that was because the role wasn’t suited for a 4th secondment, or the role had already been filled. Eventually I snapped up the opportunity to Join the Technical Team at Angus Soft Fruits based in Arbroath, Scotland. Currently I have 7 fruit farms (in a group of 22) that I am responsible for leasing with over the UK Strawberry/Raspberry/Blackberry/Blueberry season; only one month into this role and I love it, even if it is 450 miles from home!
As for the Future, nothing is set in stone! I approached MDS with an open mind which I think is key, content in the knowledge that I haven’t shied away from any challenge or opportunity that has come my way, and I will continue this attitude into my “post MDS” life! Thanks to this programme I have gained experience in so many areas of business and management that I never expected to have at 24 years old, perhaps ever. There are a few things brewing in the pipeline for me at the moment, which I have actually been sought out to be involved with, purely because of the business experience I have gained in the last 18 months.
In short, I would recommend MDS to anyone, especially those with “a lack of experience”.
Rory Craig, in his 4th secondment at Angus Soft Fruits as Fruit Technologist