MDS Awards 2023: Honoring Exceptional Trainees

MDS Awards 2023: Honoring Exceptional Trainees

MDS hosts first-ever Leaver’s Lunch and Awards Live Stream

As the MDS trainees of Group 49 prepare to move on to their permanent roles, over 40 trainees, friends, family, Members and colleagues came together to celebrate their time with us and the impact they have made on the food industry. The Leaver’s Lunch and Awards Ceremony was a fitting final hurrah for this talented group of individuals who have brought their passion, dedication, and innovative thinking to the table over the last two years.

On the 24th of February, Group 49 were invited to join the team for a 3-course lunch and Awards Ceremony in Peterborough to celebrate their achievements. This event was a chance for the MDS trainees to reflect on their successes and accomplishments, as well as to recognise and honour the hard work of their peers.

Over the last two years, these trainees have completed an impressive 66 roles, gaining valuable experience and developing a wide range of skills. From Technical Assistants to Business Development Managers, each Trainee has made a significant contribution to the business and the food industry as a whole.

After lunch, the Awards Ceremony began, a hybrid event broadcasted across Zoom and LinkedIn Live. The ceremony was a chance to recognise the trainees’ achievements and award those who had gone above and beyond in their roles and the Member companies who have supported them.

Special Recognition & Rising Star

The first of the award categories was the Special Recognition Award, which is given to those trainees who go above and beyond in their support of MDS. This year, we were proud to honour Francesca Pritchard, Francesco Balducelli, and Arunima Amar.

The Rising Star Awards recognised the hard work and achievements of our MDS trainees in their secondments, nominated by the Secondment Managers who work with our trainees on a daily basis, reflecting the high standards and exceptional performance of MDS trainees. This year, the award winners were as follows:

  • Louise Brooks – currently seconded to Syngenta
  • Mark McKenna – currently seconded to AM Fresh
  • Samir Alam – currently seconded to Syngenta Manchester
  • Imogen Stoodley – currently seconded to G’s Fresh
  • George Strainge – currently seconded to Keelings
  • David Rix & Max Pitman – currently seconded to Agrovision
  • Imogen Paterson – Pepsico

David Bagshaw Award

The next award was presented by skills coach Scott Flinton, representing his colleague Hayley Wilson. Hayley left Scott with some kind words on the David Bagshaw Award recipient. The award is designed to acknowledge outstanding performance in professional training. The award was presented to Callum Stanton, who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication to his professional training, showing a remarkable ability to learn and grow. On receiving the award, Callum commented, “It’s an honour to round up MDS with an award to cap off all the hard work over the past two years.”

Callum also offered his advice for future trainees, “Trust the process; it’s easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with a demanding full-time job plus a qualification on the side, however if you just chip away at it, and the results will show up soon enough.”

Peter Shepherd Award

Another equally important element of MDS is our Member businesses. Our penultimate award was the Peter Shepherd Award, given to a company or individual that consistently supports MDS and our trainees. This is awarded to a Secondment Manager with a deep interest in the trainee’s development needs and their career aspirations who has mentored, coached, trained and given a trainee the room to develop during their secondment. This year Marta Esteban, Senior Technical Manager at AM Fresh, was nominated by Trainee Mark McKenna. He explained why he nominated Marta, “I will remember Marta’s influence, character, passion and support for the rest of my career, and I hope in the future that I can make those I manage feel as inspired and as supported as I have during this secondment.”

Marta was very proud to receive the award:

“It was touching to see the positive words from my trainee, Mark, and how our work together has had a positive impact on him.  As I said during the first week of Mark’s secondment, the most important thing for me was for them to learn about this exciting industry and business and -most importantly- to enjoy the experience! It is an honour to be part of this mentoring programme, being able to nurture the young (and not so young) minds of the sector and showcase how interesting, exciting, varied and important this industry is.”

Marta’s advice for secondment managers on how to make such a positive impact on trainees is to “be passionate, have an open mind and ready to learn (both for trainees as well as managers) and deep dive into all things fresh! Encourage your trainees to experience other departments and areas of expertise, giving them a wider vision of the business.”

Doug Henderson Award

Finally, Head of People Development, Gretta Ryan presented the Doug Henderson Award – established to recognise excellence in performance, leadership qualities, personal achievements, team achievements and impact within a Member company. Matthew Welton was undoubtedly the well-deserved recipient of the award this year. Whether succeeding within their secondments or orchestrating activities outside MDS, supporting both their career aspirations and fellow trainees, Matt has consistently delivered. On receiving the award, Matt had some kind words of wisdom:

“Throughout my career, I have consistently found inspiration in the saying “Learn from your mistakes.” During the past two and a half years with MDS, I have been repeatedly challenged to step outside my comfort zone, necessitating rapid adaptation and continual learning. This recognition is particularly meaningful, as it underscores that even during challenging periods, I have remained steadfast in pursuing the right course. The unwavering support of MDS, Member companies, my line managers, and fellow trainees has enabled me to challenge myself, gain invaluable experience, and network with some truly amazing people, all of which have deepened my passion for this industry. I am deeply grateful for the incredible experience I have had at MDS, and I am honoured to have been recognised in this way.”

Goodbye Group 49

The Leaver’s Lunch and Awards Ceremony was a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of Group 49 and, likewise, the MDS trainees as a whole. It was a great reminder of the talent and dedication of the trainees and their contributions to their businesses.

Indeed, as the trainees move on to new challenges and opportunities, they can look back on their time in the MDS programme with pride and satisfaction, knowing that they have gained valuable experience and skills that will ultimately benefit them throughout their careers. The Leaver’s event was a fitting tribute to their hard work and dedication, and a wonderful way to send them off into the next phase of their professional lives.