MDS 2024 graduate opportunities

Company Company Profile

MDS is the UK’s foremost provider of management training for the food industry. Founded in 1986 as a not-for-profit membership organisation, we create a pipeline of well trained, capable leaders to work in all aspects of the food supply chain.

Our membership includes some of the industry’s leading businesses: forward thinking companies committed to developing high-calibre individuals. MDS offers members the opportunity to build their own leadership pipeline whilst contributing to the success of the industry. Our members provide opportunities for MDS trainees to learn ‘on the job’ in roles with real responsibility, often managing specific projects or filling seasonal peaks. Our close collaboration with members ensures a broad range of suitable secondments as well as allowing ongoing input into the development of programmes.

MDS attracts a diverse range of candidates for our training programmes, from those early in their careers, either graduates or non-graduates with a couple of years under their belts, to more experienced people looking for a career change or returning to work after a break. The food supply chain offers a wide variety of opportunities and MDS equips people to make the most of them.

Each MDS trainee completes an industry specific qualification alongside a series of challenging secondments with member companies. Our programmes last for 18 months to two years and at the end of each programme members have the opportunity to recruit trainees. In the last 35 years, every MDS alumnus has succeeded in gaining employment within the industry.

MDS plays an important part in promoting the food supply chain as an exciting career choice. We look for the skills and attitudes that meet the needs of this fast-paced industry and each person is carefully mentored to ensure they reach their potential.

Case Studies

  • Name: Arunima Amar


What is it that interests you about working in the Fresh produce and food industry?
There are so many reasons that it's quite hard to condense. Agriculture and fresh produce are at the intersection of so many influences: regulatory authority, consumer habits, globalisation and, of course, the weather!

This makes it a sometimes challenging but exciting industry to work in. There is so much to learn and incredible people who want to share their knowledge and passion for food production.

Before starting the MDS scheme, I didn't really have an idea of just how many different roles can be linked to food and fresh produce. That gives you scope to find where your skillset and interests lie.

And at the end of the day, knowing that your work impacts a critical sector is fulfilling in itself.

What did you gain from the MDS graduate scheme?
MDS expanded my horizons in pretty much all ways possible. I met people, did roles, and went places that I never would have otherwise.

The graduate scheme gave me a solid foundation to work in the industry and a network for life.

To transition from a French degree to a career in agriculture is perhaps not the most common path. But once I decided that's what I wanted, I started looking for ways to get into the industry.

MDS was perfect in that sense, being able to try different roles across the supply chain was what drew me to the scheme.

  • Name: George Strainge

Background and decision to choose MDS
I grew up on a mixed arable and livestock farm in Oxfordshire and studied Geography at the University of Exeter. I decided to apply to the MDS graduate scheme because I thought it was very unique in the fact that it offered different management experiences within different companies and having grown up on a farm I had an interest in the industry. I was also in a position where I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to go into, so MDS offered me the opportunity to find out what I might enjoy as a career.

What is it that interests you about working in the Fresh produce and food industry?
The food and fresh produce industry's fast-paced, dynamic, and diverse nature captivates my attention. Each day brings new challenges and a constant sense of motion, making it an exciting space to be a part of. Despite having its own challenges, the industry offers continuous opportunities for growth and improvement throughout the supply chain. The ever-evolving market dynamics, influenced by seasonality, consumer preferences, and trade regulations, demand adaptability and strategic thinking, adding to its attractiveness.

Within this industry, where food holds emotional significance for growers, consumers, and everyone in between, collaborating with other passionate individuals allows for tangible and positive impacts. The collective commitment to making a difference in the industry makes it a lively and fulfilling field to work in.

What did you gain from the MDS graduate scheme?
Working in four different roles across four different locations within multiple businesses provided me with a wealth of experience in a short time period. Each role change pushed me out of my comfort zone, forcing me to learn and adapt to new teams, ways of working, and responsibilities. This journey has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for various aspects of the supply chain, allowing me to approach problem-solving with diverse perspectives as I’ve worked within technical, operations, supply-chain and commercial in suppliers and a retailer. Moreover, I've been fortunate to build a network within the industry and establish mentors and friendships along the way.

Training & Profiles

  • Level 5 Leadership & Management qualification accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.
  • Introductory programme to the food and consumer goods industry by the Institute of Grocery Distribution Fast Track.

Application Procedure

We recruit 50+ graduates each year, with cohorts starting in October and April. You can apply at any time, and we interview for positions throughout the year.

There are three stages of the application process:

1) Website Application

2) Telephone Interview

3) Assessment Centre Day

Latest MDS jobs