MDS welcomes Group 55 Trainees

MDS welcomes Group 55 Trainees

We recently welcomed our new cohort of Trainees (group 55) to MDS. Everyone assembled in Peterborough for a two-day event during which they got acquainted with one another and gained insight into two industry-leading Member companies.

The enthusiastic, driven individuals enjoyed a team-bonding exercise, an evening meal, and meeting MDS Members AMFresh and G’s; with the former providing attendees with an insight into what it’s like to work for a Member at the pinnacle of the agri-food sector.

MDS CEO Sapphira Waterson was excited to welcome this excellent new cohort to MDS. She added “It’s an opportunity for Trainees that are about to start MDS to gain a real insight and ask all the questions they need about the programme.  MDS Trainees are given support, mentoring, and coaching throughout the 2 years and this event helps Trainees at the start of their experience to really understand the opportunity they have, to build the foundations of their future career.”

Commenting on the benefits of meeting their cohort before starting their secondments, she concluded “I think it’s essential for wellbeing to help people feel secure. It’s a pre-induction in a face-to-face environment; an opportunity for them to bond, network, and make some alliances so that they can support each other and know they’re not on their own.” 

Gretta Ryan, Head of People Development, answering questions from Trainees

Trainees also found out how to plan for their first secondment and enjoyed a Q&A with Gretta Ryan (pictured above), MDS’s Head of People Development.

Gretta explained that “being on the MDS programme is a fantastic opportunity to experience working in companies within different parts of the fresh food and produce industry.”

After welcoming the new cohort, she went on to say “It is always good meeting new Trainees at the start of their journey with MDS, to then see them when they are finishing and to witness their growth and development during this time.”

(From left to right) Danielle Preissner (Group 51 Trainee), Danielle Shaw and Ryan Bainborough

Danielle Shaw (pictured above), Learning and Development Manager at AMFresh said, “I think MDS is an amazing opportunity for graduates. It’s been great to come here today and I’m excited to bring AMFresh to the world of MDS. The new Trainees can get a sense of what it’s like to be in a Member company, but also as a Member to see what we’re looking for with Trainees coming to work for us.”

The Trainees learned about production processes and were able to taste-test a variety of products available in most UK supermarkets. It was the invaluable insight that left a tantalising taste in their mouth, with the group learning how a Member company like AMFresh operates.

Danielle added “It gets the name of AMFresh out to a wider community of Trainees. When they’re put on a placement with us, they will have a bit of insight already and they are excited to come and join us, and that spreads across the Trainees.”

Anthony Gardiner, Communications Director, introducing the Trainees to G’s

On Friday the group visited G’s, one of Europe’s leading family-owned, fully-integrated fresh produce companies. They learned about the 20,000 hectares of crops they grow, which are then supplied to major UK, European, and North American retailers.

During their visit, they gained insight on all things G’s from Anthony Gardiner (pictured above), the Communications Director. They then listened in on a seminar on regenerative farming, held by Julius Joel, G’s Product Director for Celery. They finished their day by visiting the Barway Baby Leaf Site, in which they witnessed the outstanding behind-the-scenes work that goes into its Baby Leaf production.

Gardiner said “As a long term MDS member, G’s were delighted to host the new intake of MDS graduates. The graduates had the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the business and see some of organic farming and hear from Julius Joel (MDS intake number one) on the transition to regenerative agriculture.”

Edward Mayell, pictured with his cohort

MDS Trainee-in-waiting Edward Mayell (pictured above) added his thoughts on the two-day experience, saying, “I thoroughly enjoyed our two-day induction in Peterborough this week. It was great to meet the MDS team and a large number of the Group-55 cohort with whom I’ll be sharing the next two years. I particularly enjoyed learning more about AMFresh and G’s – it was fascinating to hear about both businesses from those inside the business.”

The Trainees-in-waiting enjoyed the two-day experience, and their attention will now turn towards starting their secondments this spring when their MDS journey begins.