Last year, Hannah Hasell was finishing up her commercial horticulture studies at the University of Greenwich and came along to the inaugural Fresh Careers Fair with a mission to kick start her career.
Armed with the right attitude, confidence to put herself “out there” and wanting to share her recent thesis on the growing practises of bananas, she approached the Mack stand.
In her own words that moment “changed her life” and now one year on she speaks with PBUK at the 2017 Fresh Careers Fair where hundreds of graduates attended The Kia Oval, London, last week, and produce giants like Mack, Berry World, Total Produce, Westfalia and more, pitched themselves to the next generation of fresh talent.
“I decided to come along to the Fair because I wanted to see first-hand what different options were out there for me – and I’m really glad I did because I really wasn’t all that sure what I wanted to do. In fact, I didn’t have a clue; I wanted and needed a job after uni so I decided to go along to see what would happen,” she tells PBUK.
“It genuinely was a turning point in my life.”
“The good thing about coming to the Fresh Careers Fair is that people actually want you, companies are here and many are actively seeking people who have been studying fresh produce or want to work in fresh produce.
“It was so much easier to come along to the Fresh Careers Fair and way less daunting compared to say dropping off your CV to a big corporation or a manufacturer or something like that. I feel like students are happier to come to the Fresh Careers Fair because it’s friendly and there are real jobs from real companies available to them, if they make the right impression.”
After impressing the Mack team, Hannah, 24, was offered a job as a technical coordinator which she really enjoys.
“I work with the technical team, the people who look after the growers, how produce is grown, how it can be improved and looking at the quality when it comes over. I work on due diligence, getting everything into the country, making sure all of the certificates are in place, checking the pesticides and so on, across all sorts of produce lines.
“It can be quite challenging, depending on the grower, the size of the grower, how connected the grower is in terms of the Internet because obviously that’s a massive tool so I need to make sure I can stay in contact with them. You have to be able to work as a team in order to communicate what you have and haven’t got and how you are going to get in contact with people.”
Mack resourcing business manager Caroline Callan agrees the Fair presents a win-win situation for students and companies actively looking for discerning millennials – the future of business.
“We are also here at the Fair to promote ourselves; what we find is that a lot of under graduates might not understand all of the opportunities and the different types of roles that we have. We want to be as friendly and approachable as possible so people do feel like they want to come and have a chat with us and learn more about what we do and how they possibly fit into that.
“That is why we attended the Fresh Careers Fair again this year – to give people those opportunities.
“Looking at millennials is really important because obviously they are the future and we’re always looking for talented individuals to join our business and younger people can bring a different perspective to the business, a different perspective from someone like me who has been in recruitment for 20 years and I have seen so much change in that time, but I still I find myself learning from them.”
Keep a look out for more stories this week about the Fresh Careers Fair