MDS speaks to Kent-based businesses at Festival of Fresh

MDS speaks to Kent-based businesses at Festival of Fresh

Head of Business Development, Kirsty Barden, attended Festival of Fresh to give the latest updates on recruitment, training and apprenticeships. Held at Member company site Berry Gardens, more than 300 representatives from across the UK fruit and vegetable trade attended.

The future of fresh

The event was an excellent opportunity to get the latest industry insights from organisations and leaders. There were many conversations being had on the labour shortages from businesses across the sectors. Businesses showcased the many exciting ways in which they are adapting to rapidly changing markets, developing and utilising new technologies to meet changing demands. One of these innovative solutions included a VR application that can be used to highlight the varied roles available within the industry, with candidates being able to ‘try’ out roles in a virtual setting.

Regional Hubs

Kirsty delivered a presentation on MDS and its Flexi-apprenticeship programme, which was launched in January. The most exciting update from Kirsty was the development of an apprenticeship hub in Kent. Delivered in collaboration with Growing Kent and Medway, the Kent apprenticeship hub is one of the first of its kind and will offer businesses in the area access to the top food and fresh produce apprentices in the country.

A fantastic networking opportunity

As well as talking to Kent-based fresh produce businesses to learn more about their business needs, Kirsty managed to catch up with some MDS Alumni too. Two Alum who are now working with Fruit Growers, Chambers, stopped in for a chat with MDS. Commercial Director James Miller and Senior Commercial Manager George Beedell were both in attendance. Kirsty also managed to catch MDS Alumna and NFU Agriculture Policy Advisor Christine McDowell. It was great to see some friendly faces and see the many achievements that past MDS Trainees have accomplished. Seeing past MDS Trainees in such influential roles across the industry is a testament to the scheme’s success.