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MDS Pioneers Start Their Training

Posted 30 October 2007

Nine trainees became the first to join the new postgraduate certificate in Fresh Food and Produce Management which has been specially designed for the fresh produce industry this week. The young graduates met for the first time on the induction programme run by Peterborough-based Management Development Services Ltd (MDS) in conjunction with Harper Adams University College, Shropshire.

MDS has been offering its graduate development programme for the fresh produce industry for over twenty years now, but this is the first group of trainees to enroll on the new MDS programme which includes the Harper Adams’ postgraduate certificate.  The certificate programme, which is the first of its kind, is now an integral part of the training scheme, and trainees will complete modules in Personal Development Planning, Running a Business and Challenging Existing Practice. 

All the trainees are excited about the prospect of earning the new qualification for the industry and the industry in turn is watching this pioneering development closely.  As MDS Chairman Doug Henderson points out, “This is the first qualification of its sort in the sector and it represents a bold initiative for both MDS and Harper Adams, the two principal partners in the initiative.”

The new course has also come to the attention of the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell during a recent visit to Harper Adams to meet MDS Chairman Doug Henderson, MDS General Manager Dani Shaw and academics from the University College.  Mr. Rammell recognised that this pioneering programme is responding precisely to urgent needs in the UK economy and has indicated that he wants to follow the initiative closely.  Charles Cowap, Director of Work Based Learning at the University College, acknowledged the vital input made to the development of the new course by MDS and their private training providers Dove Nest Group who will also be providing some of the tuition for the trainees.

Mr. Cowap set the trainees an ambitious personal target during the three-day induction programme.  “A great future beckons for the nine trainees and I fully expect them all to be in senior positions of strategic responsibility in the industry within the next 10 years.  No less can be expected from this pioneering group of students by the time they have completed the MDS programme and their postgraduate studies.”
The Programme:

·   The two-year programme includes four six-month management secondments where trainees take responsibilities across the fresh produce supply chain in MDS member organisations.
·   They meet the challenges of various roles including quality control, harvest management, commercial sales, technical development and supply analysis.
·   The initiative also combines this work experience with work-based projects and 27 days worth of management training and development.
·   It has been designed to ensure that our future professionals are equipped with a wide level of skill, experience and knowledge so that they provide member companies with managers who have demonstrated their management capability and potential.

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