Our Members

Build your leadership pipeline with MDS

MDS members help shape the leaders of the future by providing MDS trainees and associates with a range of challenging secondments over the course of their chosen programme. Our membership includes forward-thinking businesses from the food supply chain, including growers, manufacturers, processors and retailers. Combined with industry-specific apprenticeship training, the experience gained in the secondments develops talented individuals into people you want to employ.

Why join MDS?

MDS members can take part in three highly effective training programmes to suit their business requirements. You may choose to take trainees from our Graduate Scheme rather than running an in-house graduate programme, reducing both cost and risk. Our Operations and Development scheme targets people early in their careers who are interested in the manufacturing and logistics side of the food industry, whilst our Leadership and Management programme gives opportunities to more experienced people retraining for a second career or returning to work after a break.

Whichever scheme you choose to take part in – and you can mix and match as appropriate – you can be confident that all MDS trainees and associates are talented, hard-working and highly motivated to succeed. Carefully selected for their potential, they bring fresh ideas to each role. MDS trainees are employed by MDS, and members are charged a daily rate for their work. This means we cover national insurance and pension costs.

Many members use MDS secondments to manage projects or seasonal peaks in workload and trainees take on increasingly challenging responsibilities as they move through our programmes. This is supported by our modular training, which is also available to members’ own employees and can be funded through the apprenticeship levy.

At the end of each programme, members have the opportunity to recruit trainees into permanent roles. You will have had the opportunity to meet all our trainees during the programmes at our ‘meet the trainee’ events and, of course, the abilities of those seconded to your business will be well known to you. Every trainee that has ever completed MDS has been offered a permanent role, which reflects the quality of the knowledge, experience and skills developed during the programmes.

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. Part of our alumni communication includes publicising vacancies within our member companies, which many members find to be a useful and low-cost recruitment option.

How to join

MDS membership is diverse and growing. New members must be involved in the food, fresh produce, agriculture or horticulture supply chains and be committed to developing talent in the sector. Applications are subject to approval by the Board of Directors after full consultation with the membership and must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Have UK offices and at least five years’ trading and three years’ audited accounts
  • Have a team of at least ten, with a named director or senior manager responsible for the MDS relationship
  • Commit to providing at least two secondments each year in a range of management, operational or leadership positions
  • Make secondment managers available for training as required
  • Provide appropriate job-specific training, risk assessments and health and safety policies for any activity involving an MDS employee
  • Agree to MDS’s terms of business.

What does MDS membership cost?

  • Joining fee £800
  • Annual subscription £2,800
  • Daily rate per trainee or associate during the first year £119
  • Daily rate per trainee or associate after the first year £129
  • Transfer fee for MDS finisher for member with regular secondments £2,500
  • Transfer fee for MDS finisher for inactive members (no secondment within two years) £3,500

Our Members

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