How to recruit more youngsters into the fresh fruit and vegetable business is an ongoing issue for the trade despite the varied number of exciting jobs and career paths on offer. To address the problem, Produce Business UK and its publisher Phoenix Media Network will present a Fresh Careers Fair next year in London, which promises to introduce industry professionals to students and graduates eager to kick-start their career in produce
The inaugural event will bring together all factions of the fresh produce sector with high-calibre students and their tutors from world-renowned UK horticultural, agricultural, catering and culinary colleges and universities.
Fruit and vegetable-related employers from the production, supply, foodservice and retail sectors, as well as leading hotels, restaurants and private chef agencies, plus recruitment agencies will have a platform from which to meet and recruit students, graduates and job seekers.
“We’re launching the Fresh Careers Fair to create a link between the fresh produce industry in all its guises and the education institutions of the UK,” explains Tommy Leighton, managing director of Produce Business UK and the London Produce Show and Conference.
“Since I began reporting on the UK fresh produce industry 20 years ago, one of the perennial gripes has centred around the difficulty of recruiting youngsters into the trade. This applies to all sectors, despite the fact that this industry is one of the most dynamic, innovative and exciting to work in, and most fruit and vegetable sectors offer relatively high potential rewards in personal development, enjoyment and financial terms. This is the reason that so many who do come into this sector find it hard to leave.”
Leighton points out that too many of the students who go to colleges and universities in the UK to learn skills that are directly relevant to the produce industry end up working in other fields.
“It’s time to put a stop to that lost potential for fruit and vegetable companies, and for the catering sector,” he points out. “This is your opportunity to showcase your business and the attraction of working with fruit and vegetables to the young people who will make up the next generation, the next graduate trainees, the next innovators, the next buyers, the next great salesmen, store managers, growers or chefs, and eventually the next leaders of your industry.”
At the event, UK horticulture and fresh produce companies, foodservice operators and retailers, as well as leading hotels, restaurants and private chef agencies can capitalise on the opportunity to highlight graduate schemes, internships, apprenticeships and job opportunities to those educated and trained to make an impact in their respective sector.
At the same time, culinary, catering, horticultural and agricultural students, graduates and job seekers will be able to meet some of the fruit and veg industry’s leading employers. Employers will also have the chance to forge long-standing corporate relationships with key educational institutions and recruitment agencies.
A Fresh Careers Guide 2016 will be distributed free of charge to students at the UK’s leading horticultural and culinary colleges and universities, as well as to those attending the fair. This directory will detail the opportunities across the various produce sectors, in addition to corporate profiles on numerous companies and organisations, including the typical vacancies and career paths they offer.
The benefits of introducing students to industry professionals have already been demonstrated at the London Produce Show and Conference, where an extensive student programme has proved both popular and productive.
“We know the Fresh Careers Fair will be the next step in the right direction for the industry as a whole and we look forward to seeing your business there,” Leighton notes.
Attendance to the Fresh Careers Fair is free for students and their tutors. Companies wishing to participate must either book an expo stand or a sponsorship.
Anyone interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the inaugural Fresh Careers Fair, or advertising in the Fresh Careers Guide should contact [email protected]
Fresh Careers Fair:
March 10, 2016
9.30am to 4.30pm
The England Suite at The Kia Oval in London
Expo, keynote speakers, networking lunch and cocktail, plus careers advice
- UK horticulture and fresh produce companies, foodservice operators and retailers, as well as leading hotels, restaurants and private chef agencies
- Leading recruitment agencies from fresh produce-related sectors
- Students and their tutors from world-renowned UK horticultural, agricultural, catering and culinary colleges and universities
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