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New qualification at Harper Adams marks MDS Anniversary

Posted 14 November 2006

Management Development Services (MDS) celebrates its 20th anniversary by launching a new post-graduate certificate in food and fresh produce management – in association with Harper Adams University College.

This formal partnership brings together two highly-respected organisations working for mutual benefit to raise the profile of the fresh produce industry and ensure the managers of tomorrow are well prepared to handle the challenges facing the fresh produce industry.

Harper Adams is the country’s leading college for land-based industries while Peterborough-based MDS is renowned for its fast-track graduate training programme for the fresh food and produce industry.

From next year, MDS trainees will complete the new qualification alongside the existing training, giving them independent academic recognition once they complete the course.

Chairman Doug Henderson said it was a milestone in the development of MDS: “The new post-graduate certificate is universal recognition of the excellence of the MDS training programme and we are delighted to have the support of Harper Adams whose expertise and reputation is second to none.”

Professor Wynne Jones, principal of Harper Adams, is delighted MDS has chosen the Shropshire-based college as its partner in this new venture. “This initiative follows hard on the heels of our own recognition as a Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching by the government, and the college’s attainment of research degree status this summer,” he said.

The project will be developed jointly by Charles Cowap, Lifelong Learning Manager in the Aspire Centre at Harper Adams and Dani Shaw, General Manager of MDS. The Aspire Centre reflects the college’s ethos of Advancing Skills for Professionals in the Rural Economy (ASPIRE) where work-based and lifelong learning is at the heart of the agenda.

About 20 trainees a year complete the demanding MDS programme which includes four secondments with member companies and 25 days of formal training.

The post-graduate certificate will involve a formal assessment of job-based case studies and will be carried out in parallel with the existing programme – starting with the group who take up their first secondment in the autumn of 2007.

Announcing the news at a gala dinner to celebrate the 20th anniversary, Doug said the new qualification was a fitting way to mark the anniversary. “Our aim is to constantly move forward and this project shows our members’ commitment to people development.

"The new certificate will become an important element in our drive to enhance quality at all stages of the supply chain by ensuring our young managers have the skills and confidence needed to deliver what the customer wants in a competitive and fast-moving market.”

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