Operations and Development Scheme

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MDS LTD – Operations and Development Scheme

About us
The Fresh Produce and Food industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the country, and MDS nurtures talented individuals (Associates) to become future leaders in this innovative, diverse, and sustainable industry.

MDS is a not-for-profit organisation that was established in 1986 by a group of forward-thinking growers concerned about the shortage of skilled managers within the industry. Our current membership stands at over 60 businesses which continues to grow year on year. The collaboration of MDS and industry-leading businesses has fast-tracked the career of over 500 individuals.

The Role
MDS offers a unique challenge beyond traditional apprenticeships. Our 18 Month Operations and Development programme allows Associates to experience 2 - 3 roles in a variety of businesses. This allows our Associates to proactively explore their strengths, motivation, and ideal fit without making a long-term commitment to one role or business.

MDS offers a training and development programme that is designed to be inclusive and offer opportunities to individuals with a wide range of skills and experiences. Our Associates demonstrate strong leadership potential, are highly motivated and hardworking. Our Operations and Development programme not only offers individuals an opportunity to experience a variety of roles and gain valuable experience, but they will also gain a Level 3 qualification as a Supply Chain Leader.

The value of an Associate is emphasised by the support given throughout their development. An Associate has access to an experienced mentor to support all different aspects of the programme to help them reach their full potential. This potential is reflected in recent statics, showing that MDS has a 98% completion rate of our Flexi apprenticeship and 100% of individuals who complete the programme are offered full-time employment within the industry.

The Operations and Development role is particularly suited to those individuals who are looking to change their career and want to fast track themselves into a leadership role. During your time with MDS, you will undertake a variety of operational based roles, which will allow you to gain an understanding of how the different stages of the supply chain link together. Examples of roles include:

  • Production supervisor
  • Process improvement
  • Shift manager
  • Stock controller
  • Logistics supervisor
  • Quality controller

By completing secondments, our associates get to experience and understand all aspects of the food and horticultural supply chain from growers to retailers and everything in between. The fast-track programme helps individuals identify what aspect of the industry suits them best. 

Our Members are based throughout the UK, and there are opportunities overseas. Due to the widespread of our Members individuals are highly likely to find a permanent role in their desired geographical area. On completion of their Apprenticeship, Associates could take on a permanent role or continue their training by completing a level 4 or level 5 apprenticeship. 

Salary and benefits

  • £24,000 first 12 months and £25,000 for remaining months
  • Relocation allowance
  • Approved qualification
  • Dedicated mentoring
  • 28 days holiday pro rata
  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
  • Interest-free starter loan

Application Process
We interview individuals throughout the year, with intakes normally starting in October and April. 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 via the apply button.

To apply the candidate must, by the start of their employment, have permission to work in the UK and be able to relocate every six months.  If relocation is an issue, please discuss this with us.

Associates benefit from up to three secondments with many being in rural locations, please be aware that public transport is not usually a viable option. All Associates 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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