Management Development Services, the organisation that offers graduate schemes for the fresh produce industry, has called for more members in Scotland.
MDS chair Christine Tacon told an event in Dundee that the organisation wanted more members north of the border so Scottish trainees have more possibilities of a career in their home country.
Tacon explained that by working in four different companies in four different roles over a two-year scheme, trainees gain a rounded experience that benefits both them and their future employers.
“MDS has been the secret weapon of the fresh produce industry in England for over 30 years, and we want to extend the reach in Scotland as we cannot fulfil the demand of young Scottish people looking to take part in the scheme," she said. "We only have two members offering placements in Scotland currently, and while many trainees are happy to undertake the scheme outside Scotland many of them ultimately want the option to forge a career back on home turf.
"Having options in Scotland is very important to us as most MDS graduates are ultimately employed by MDS members once they finish the scheme, so we want to be able to offer that progression here in Scotland to young Scots - as much as to non-Scots who want to live and work here.”
She added: “It works both ways as it also gives the fresh produce industry in Scotland a pool of high-calibre management trainees. It’s often a particular challenge for rural businesses to recruit reliable young people, and MDS offers them exceptional training to accelerate their potential in addition to the work experience, so this could be the answer for your business.”
At the event John Gray, commercial director of Angus Soft Fruits, also spoke of the success of the scheme for his business. The company joined MDS as a member in 2017 and has had three trainees so far. Gray said: "The MDS trainees hit the ground running, and within a couple of weeks they are autonomous. In my experience this usually takes three to six months. They have fended off so much competition to be there, they are ambitious and driven, so you know they are not going to let you down.”
MDS is seeking applications from businesses at any point in the food and fresh produce supply chain including distribution, growing, retail and imports. MDS currently has 38 business members and 44 trainees on placement.