Supporting the next generation with the Scotland Food & Drink Graduate Programme
As Scotland’s leading industry body in the food and drink sector, we believe that it’s important to nurture the next generation of talent for the industry. That’s why, several years ago, we launched a Graduate Scheme to place young people into roles with national retailers and foodservice businesses based in Scotland.
As Scotland’s leading industry body in the food and drink sector, we believe that it’s important to nurture the next generation of talent for the industry. That’s why, several years ago, we launched a Graduate Scheme to place young people into roles with national retailers and foodservice businesses based in Scotland. The aims of these placements vary from business to business but are generally designed to introduce graduates into a commercial environment to work with both small-scale artisanal producers and large-scale suppliers, developing a wide range of buying, selling, and marketing skills whilst assisting in creating new opportunities for both the host business and the suppliers, with the aim of growing sales of Scottish food and drink products.
We joined forces with Brakes Scotland to place a graduate with them as part of our Partnership Covid Recovery Plan in 2021. Calum Brown recently finished his 2-year placement and following the success of the placement, two new graduates, Ewan Harvie and Matthew Farmer, have recently started their roles at Brakes.
During his placement, Calum managed a portfolio of 12 suppliers. After two years, through working closely with these businesses and identifying how they could develop their commercial success, the combined sales total had grown to be more than £1m annually.
Speaking about his time with Brakes as a Scotland Food & Drink graduate, Calum Brown, said: “I joined Scotland Food & Drink graduate scheme in September 2021, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed those two years, learning how the food industry in Scotland operates, as well as meeting all the producers behind it.
“Wholesale was a big learning curve, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the fast-paced commercial environment meant that no two days were the same. I’ve had the opportunity to travel around Scotland, attend events, visit customers and suppliers, list brand new products and much more. The graduate programme has taught me a lot about communication, connecting with people and has made me more confident.”
April Pollock is another of our graduates and is gaining hands on experience from working in Morrisons. When asked about her biggest achievements during her placement, she said: “I joined Scotland Food & Drink/Morrisons in September 2021. Scotland is very fortunate to have such a passionate food and drink industry and working as part of the Morrisons team within Scotland has given me a fantastic opportunity to work with many Scottish producers from all different categories - whisky, gin, bakery, tea & coffee, biscuits and many more. It's rewarding to watch suppliers grow from the initial conversations we have, to finally seeing these on shelf in Morrisons!”
April works alongside Buying Manager for Scotland at Wm Morrison Supermarkets Ltd, Iain McCallum, who said: “Having moved into the position of Buying Manager for Scotland after 25 years in the retail side of the business with Morrisons, I am extremely fortunate to be able to work alongside April who has come through the graduate scheme with Scotland Food & Drink. Having the partnership with Scotland Food & Drink has been an invaluable source of information and support which is not only extremely illuminating, but also is a great tool to support the objectives we are working on within Morrisons.”
Food and drink is one of the largest sectors in Scotland and the biggest manufacturing employer, but many businesses struggle to attract the workforce they need, so inspiring young people to work in our remarkable sector is critical for its long-term prospects. That’s why we’re proud to welcome Ewan and Matthew as our most recent graduates.
When asked about the reason he applied for the graduate programme, Ewan said: “The first thing that attracted me to apply for the position with Brakes and Scotland Food & Drink was how unique the job description was. Working with two companies intrigued me as gaining two different perspectives from two companies seemed very valuable to me.” Matthew added: “There are many benefits to working simultaneously with both companies. Branching out my network and utilising the expertise within both companies is one of the biggest benefits the role provides.”
By investing in the next generation of talent, Scotland Food & Drink are not only nurturing individual careers but also investing in the future of the sector.
The graduate roles also play a vital role in delivering on our new industry strategy ‘Sustaining Scotland. Supplying the World.’ by helping to unlock commercial potential within the Scottish and UK markets.
We’re proud to be supporting the next generation of food and drink talent.
For more information, visit Scotland Food & Drink's official website here https://foodanddrink.scot/