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About MDS

Company HQ location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Industry: Food & drink

No of employees: 5

Our company in a nutshell

Management Development Services Ltd (MDS) was set up in 1986 by a group of forward-thinking growers concerned about the shortage of skilled managers within the food and drink industry.

MDS is a partnership of companies that aims to equip young people with the experience, training and mind-set so that they have the confidence and ability to rapidly become senior business leaders within the industry.

The membership includes growers, suppliers and retailers of vegetables, salads, meat products and agrochemicals as well as agronomy specialists.

Today, MDS encompasses the whole supply chain of vegetables, salads, fruit, flowers, plants, arable and prepared food products not only based in the UK but also for operations in many countries around the world.

Life at MDS for graduates

Our Graduates (known as Trainees) are placed in four different secondments over two years in up to four different member companies and this could be anywhere in the UK with the possibility of some overseas placements. Secondments are combined with formal off-the-job training, coaching and mentoring.

MDS delivers a widely-respected and renowned training programme that, year-after-year, gives trainees the skills they need to achieve credible positions within the food and fresh produce industry.

The training programme is a Level 5 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. This is delivered over 26 days off the job training, with assignments to complete in between modules.

The training programme has been developed with Quantet Group and combines leadership and management training with a focus on the food and fresh produce industry. Each trainee is assessed and receives tailored critique matched to their person development, ensuring a truly unique learning experience.

MDS’ impressive record of trainees moving into well-paid and responsible jobs on completion of the programme is testament to the first-class formal training and practical experience each trainee receives.


Personal coaching from MDS staff and secondment managers at all placements to support you throughout the programme

Trainees are employed by MDS at a salary of £20,000 in the first year

Rising to £21,250 in the second year

Access to an extensive network of companies and industry contacts (via your secondments, training and networking events each 6 months)

Your CV is circulated to all members each 6 months

Workplace pension

Two years to try a variety of roles and businesses before deciding where you fit best

Case studies


MDS Alumnus

"If you have high ambitions to work in a very rewarding industry there is no better scheme to give you the strong foundation needed to kick start your career.”


MDS Trainee

"I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how 4 different businesses work."


Supply Chain Administrator (Langmead Herbs)

"Each day presents a new challenge; that’s what makes it fun."

Important dates

Applications are open year-round, with two intakes: April and September.

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