MDS Leadership & Management Scheme - Scotland


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.

The MDS Leadership and Management scheme offers an exciting opportunity for people wishing to start a second career. Whatever your age or background, if you have completed several years in a role that gave you leadership or managerial experience, then we would be interested in talking to you.

The Leadership and Management scheme is one of three MDS programmes that equip people for a fruitful career in the fast-paced food industry. Hardworking, highly motivated individuals will relish the challenge of this two-year programme. Successful candidates become MDS associates, working towards a formal Level 5 qualification accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. This modular training prepares you for future leadership positions and is supported by mentoring to help you reach your potential.

Each MDS associate also undertakes a series of placements in member businesses, in roles that give real responsibility from the start. MDS members represent all aspects of the food, fresh produce, horticulture and agriculture supply chain, from growers to supermarkets. Your placements will each last for six months or a year and will cover a range of different functions, from marketing to operations, HR to business planning. You may be asked to complete a specific project for one business, whilst for another, you may find yourself running a packing plant.

As our members are based around the UK (and some overseas), you are highly likely to be asked to relocate for each placement. If your family circumstances make that difficult then we will endeavour to find local placements for you.

At the end of each programme, our members are invited to make offers of permanent roles to our associates, which usually results in every individual securing employment. MDS alumni now number over 500 and hold senior positions in many leading businesses. We keep in touch with our alumni through regular updates and networking opportunities.

Do you qualify?

To be considered for MDS, you will need to demonstrate that you have relevant experience and transferrable skills. We do not expect associates to be educated to degree level, but we do look for people with the potential to succeed in a leadership role.

To apply, you must be prepared and able to relocate every six months. Each application is reviewed independently, and the offer of employment will be subject to appropriate right-to-work checks. A range of our Member companies are based in rural locations some Trainees may be required to travel, it is the Trainee’s responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate means to travel for work.

This is a fast-paced industry in which salaries are rising quickly. Associates are employed by MDS at £25,000 per annum, rising to £26,000 in year two.. If you are looking for a second career, then you may just find it in the food industry.


- Relocation allowance

- Chartered Management Institute approved qualification

- Dedicated mentoring

- 28 days holiday

- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

- Interest free starter loan

How to apply:

MDS recruit 50+ graduates each year, with intakes starting in April and October. You can apply at any time through our website, and we interview for positions throughout the year.

There are three stages of the application process:

1) Website Application – no testing, it takes around 30/40 minutes to complete

2) Telephone Interview

3) Virtual Assessment Centre

If you are ready to become part of a network of future leaders on the fast track to career success, apply now.

To apply, you must be eligible to work in the UK and be prepared and able to relocate every six months.

Trainees benefit from up to four secondments with many being in rural locations, please be aware that public transport is not usually a viable option. All trainees will be responsible for their own travel arrangements relating to their secondment and the inability to achieve this may result in a secondment not being able to be offered.

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