Free Masterclass by IGD

May 5, 2017

The theme: Evolution: Retail in the future, near and far

19 June 2017 6pm, Ramada Resort Grantham, Marston

This Masterclass training session, delivered by speakers from IGD will include a talk and opportunities to interact and network. The session is designed so that everyone has something to take away; it could be a great opportunity to refresh a subject that you are familiar with, but is also accessible to those new to a topic. It is open to everyone working in the food and consumer goods industry – from graduates to senior managers. Colleagues with no involvement with MDS are also welcome.

For more information and to book go to:

We hope to see you there!

Worshipful Company of Fruiterers Conference

March 14, 2017

The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers are holding  a conference in London this Thursday 16 March:

Navigating turbulence in the produce supply chain and beyond

Featuring some very relevant topics and speakers, this promises to be a thought provoking and enlightening day for both MDS trainees and anyone else involved in the industry. For more information or to book:

Ladies in Agriculture Networking Event

February 16, 2017

Ladies in Agriculture is a group of professional women in food, agriculture and the land based industries at all stages of their careers, who get together to discuss business issues, support each other via mentorship and advice and help generate networks of contacts that might be useful to themselves and their businesses.

The group is open to anyone who feels the network would be of benefit to them – to meet, network, offer moral support, seek out mentors, ask questions and share experiences.  A key aim is to promote the sectors they represent and actively encourage others into the industry, be it those of the younger generation or those changing their career path.

Christine Tacon, MDS Chair, heads up the group and has encouraged MDS trainees, alumni and contacts to attend the next networking event which will take place in March, details below. This time the Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom will also be attending so it promises to be an interesting evening.


Date:                     8th March 2017

Time:                    6.30pm- 9.30pm

Location:             Savills, London, W1G 0JD

Price:                    £30 for members or £18 for guests (includes a light buffet and refreshments)



It would be good to see lots of you there.


Summer 2017 Call for Secondments

January 24, 2017

Planning for the Summer 2017 secondments is underway. If you are a member company, or a potential member company and you would like an MDS trainee for the Summer, please contact Anna (

Meet the Trainees January 2017

January 10, 2017

Have you accepted your invite to our bi-annual Meet the Trainees?

Proceedings will be kicking off at:

6pm on Monday 23 January

All of our current trainees will be there to meet member companies and to explore options for their next steps, be this their next secondment or a post-MDS role. This is your chance to get a feel for our trainees and to meet them face to face.

Please contact Helen for more details.

If you are a member company we hope to see you there along with all of our trainees.

Graduate Scheme Food

New Year Fresh Start

January 5, 2017

We are beginning the New Year at MDS with renewed vigor as we have been joined by two new team members.

Beverley Tegala, Finance Officer & Administrator

Beverley has joined the team to take on financial management and to assist with general administration. She has a penchant for the outdoors, walking in particular, and is sure to do us all to shame by cycling to work in the summer!

Anna Williams, Development Manager

Having completed the MDS scheme in 2014, Anna is back for more, but this time on the other side of the fence. She will be responsible for developing the business in terms of recruitment and member companies.


Both Beverley and Anna are looking forward to working with Saffy and Helen as well as the extended MDS network of trainees and member companies.

MDS announces new Chair, Christine Tacon CBE

October 17, 2016

The MDS Board of Directors has appointed Christine Tacon CBE as Chair.

Christine has extensive produce industry experience. She managed the Co-operative Group’s farming business for 11 years and was awarded a CBE for services to Agriculture in 2004. Prior to this, Christine worked within Mars Confectionery, Fonterra and Vodafone, and has demonstrated her commitment to the next generation through Ladies in Agriculture. In 2013 she was appointed as the first Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Christine brings to MDS her ability to combine strategic leadership with practical understanding of both private and public sectors. This is backed by a strong commercial background in fast-moving consumer goods, farming and the environment and extensive communications experience in high-profile roles.

Julius Joel, Director and former MDS trainee said: “It is great that Christine has agreed to help us take MDS to its next level. Her experience and energy will help the business strengthen its service to its member companies, re-invigorate its training platform and build on the unique management development program we offer.”

Christine replaces Doug Henderson MBE who was appointed Chairman in October 2004. Doug was formerly Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) and brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role throughout his 12 years of his service.

“Christine will be responsible for the continued development of the MDS business plan and training strategy,” said Saffy Connolly, MDS Chief Operations Officer. “Her experience in strategic planning, leadership and development, teamed with her desire to see a strengthened UK groceries sector will play a vital role in building and spreading the MDS success story.”

Christine Tacon said: “I am delighted to accept this role with MDS. I am keen to see a new generation of leaders in the groceries sector equipped with the best possible training and working with MDS I aim to achieve this.”

Christine Tacon