Why You Should Consider Careers in the Food and Fresh Produce Sectors…Find Out How & Why With MDS!

MDS works in partnership with over 55 organisations across the fresh produce industry to provide a unique graduate scheme unlike any other. MDS Trainees can experience four different roles and gain the necessary tools to become future leaders, including a professional Leadership and Management qualification, mentoring, coaching and access to exclusive networking events. Over the last 35 years, MDS has produced a network of over 500+ food and fresh produce leaders.

Food is the Future
The food industry generates an annual turnover of around £104 billion annually, as the largest manufacturing sector in the country. Food, fresh produce and agriculture is playing a vital role in working towards a better future. The industry is crucial in solving many of the environmental and social issues that are high on the agenda in terms of career aspirations for future generations. Employing around 4 million people, the sector is full of diverse opportunities, high job satisfaction and rising salaries. Fresh produce values its employees, and it is actively seeking out problem solvers who will play an essential role in meeting market demand and feeding an expected population of over 70 million.

This broadcast will focus on why food and fresh produce is an exciting career, how it appeals to graduates, and the endless emerging opportunities within the industry.

The panel
Lucy Wills. Lucy joined Finsbury Food Group in 2011. She has over 19 years’ experience in the food manufacturing sector. Prior to joining Finsbury, Lucy headed up Senoble UK’s chilled desserts multi-site operation. Earlier career experience was within the sandwich manufacturing sector with Food Partners, where she held a range of supply chain and operational roles. Lucy joined Finsbury in 2011 and has progressed through various leadership roles to her current role of Managing Director of its Cake Business. Lucy is also a member of the MDS Board of Directors.

Ellie Strohm. Ellie is Project Co-ordinator for the organisation the Rural Youth Project. Ellie’s passion for food and farming has led her to work in events, with growing projects and community kitchens. As former teacher and therapeutic facilitator working directly with young people, she has brought this experience to her role with the Rural Youth Project working alongside young people from across Scotland to launch the world’s first youth centric Smart Village, which aims to create better access to employment opportunities, inspiration, and guidance for rural young people.

John Gonzales. John joined MDS in 2018 to learn more about the food industry. He had placements at Natures Way Foods, Worldwide Fruit, Fyffes, and Memory Lane Cakes. During his time with MDS, he was able to widen his knowledge and experience of Change Management, which sparked his interest in the role. He is now the Operating Brilliance Lead at Memory Lane Cakes, improving efficiency and effectiveness across the site through continuous improvement.

Larissa Keyte. Enrolling onto MDS in 2018, Larissa undertook placements at dps, Syngenta, Morrison’s and Angus Soft Fruits. Roles were varied in location and discipline; from creating marketing videos for blockbuster ai’s in Switzerland to quality improvement trials in Warwickshire, MDS secondments expose Trainees to multiple cultures, thought processes and challenges. Larissa completed the MDS programme in 2020, achieving a distinction in her L5 Leadership and Management apprenticeship qualification. She is now a customer Technologist at Organic Farm Foods, where she continues her career within fresh produce and the FMCG sector.

Kirsty Barden – Business Development Manager. Kirsty oversees all Marketing and Recruitment, working closely with new and potential Member companies and Trainees. Kirsty completed MDS in 2010. Her understanding of the industry experiences as a Trainee means she is well placed to identify the qualities and attributes required to maintain the high standards of MDS Trainees. As a natural collaborator, Kirsty’s goals strongly align with the MDS values. She is able to work with the MDS Team and organisations across the industry to help develop their leadership pipeline.

Libby Richards. Libby is halfway through her MDS journey, having been on the programme for over a year. During this time, she has experienced Technical and Production roles for Bradon Farms and Angus Soft Fruits. Libby has a huge passion for the industry despite coming from a non-Agri background, having studied French and Spanish at the University of Leeds.

Matthew Welton. Matthew is also halfway through his MDS journey and joined MDS after graduating from the University of Bath with a degree in Biology. He has been fortunate enough to have spent the last year seconded with Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland, where he has been working in a Marketing role. Matt also helps to run MDS TAG (Trainee Action Group). Through this group, Matt has set up an MDS podcast where he interviews leading industry experts to find out what advice they have for aspiring fresh produce leaders.

To watch the Broadcast, click on the picture as below. To listen to the Podcast, click on the Podcast icon.

Filmed 11th November 2021.

To find out more information about MDS, click HERE.

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