Industry body Scotland Food & Drink has joined forces with wholesaler Brakes Scotland and retailer Morrisons to promote the next generation of talent with the creation of joint graduate roles.
The two seconded roles which are part of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan, funded by Scottish Government, have been created by the organisation’s UK Market Development team to work closely with Scottish suppliers, helping improve connections into Brakes and Morrisons.
The first two graduates recruited for the roles are Calum Brown from Edinburgh and April Pollock from Alloa. Calum recently graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in Economics and will join the team at Brakes Scotland, while April – who attended Strathclyde University and worked for an Edinburgh based law firm – will join Morrisons’ local sourcing team.
April and Calum will develop a wide range of buying, selling, and marketing skills and assist in creating new opportunities for both the host business and the suppliers, with the aim of growing sales of Scottish food and drink products.
There is an increasing skills shortage within the industry and its supply chain caused by multiple factors including a drop in workers from the EU, the impact of Covid-19 on workforces, and a lack of awareness of the broad range of careers available in food and drink.
The announcement comes during the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, an annual celebration of Scottish produce embraced by retailers, suppliers and hospitality businesses across the country.
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said, “Scotland’s food and drink industry is an incredibly diverse sector, brimming with career opportunities, particularly for graduates and people starting out in their careers.
'Working in collaboration with a leading wholesaler and supermarket to create graduate roles focused on the promotion of Scottish produce is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates the faith in Scottish suppliers that Brakes and Morrisons have.
“We’re proud to welcome Calum and April to the industry and look forward to seeing their development in their current roles and the successful careers they will go on to have. We hope there will be further opportunities in the future to work with more of our partners to create roles that help support the Scottish supply base.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said, “The double whammy of COVID-19 and Brexit have shown just how important Scotland’s food and drink sector is.
“The industry has risen to the challenge as local, national and international consumers have demonstrated a growing appreciation of our high-quality Scottish produce.
“There has never been a more exciting time to embark on a career in this vibrant sector and I would like to congratulate Calum and April on their new roles.
“I am sure many others will see for themselves the many exciting opportunities available and follow their lead.”
April Pollock, Local Sourcing Co-ordinator for Scotland at Morrisons, said, “I have always felt drawn to a career in the food and drink sector, agriculture has been a big part of my life from a young age and now living on a working farm, I am passionate about sourcing local produce, so this role seemed like the perfect fit for me.
“I am delighted to be joining such an exciting and fast paced industry in my new role at Morrisons, we are so lucky to have such a great and diverse range of products available to us in Scotland and I hope this is something we can promote further for all to enjoy.”
Calum Brown, Commercial Coordinator at Brakes, added, “My interest in Scottish produce coupled with the opportunity to gain experience in a dynamic, fast-growing industry originally sparked my interest in the role at Scotland Food & Drink/Brakes.
'I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the industry, its suppliers and customers while contributing to the overall growth of the sector.
“Personally, I’m really excited to meet everyone and get started in the new role. Opportunities like this one provide young people with access to a vibrant and growing industry and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick start my career.”