Happiness is a job in fresh produce
I have a question for you. Well two really. What was your dream job when you were little and how did you ‘fall into’ the fresh produce sector?
OK, so here’s mine to start things off. When I was 11 everyone laughed when I said in class that I wanted to be a kennel maid. I never did realise this ambition of course. Instead I fell into the fresh produce sector some three weeks after leaving University because I saw a job advert which I applied to and took because it offered me the opportunity to use my languages and to travel. I was sold. And subsequently hooked. That was 32 years ago. How about you?
I’m guessing that unless your family had a prior involvement in the industry, it’s quite likely that you also fell into your fresh produce career. I imagine that you didn’t hear about it at University. That you didn’t read about it in a careers guide. Or see it as a stand-out option at the careers fairs and milk rounds and recruitment agencies that you may have visited as you set out to seek employment and pay off your student debt. Perhaps it wasn’t even your first job. But I’d also bet that like me, once in, whatever your association with the business might be, you have decided to stay put. Possibly forever.
Falling in love with fruit
My friends laughed when they heard that I’d taken a job with a fresh fruit and vegetable magazine. And I can still raise a laugh when I mention the names of some of the events that I have to attend. They think I’m obsessed with fruit and veg, which of course I am. In writing about the sector, I grew to love it. And still do. This industry is special. It’s fast-paced, it’s innovative, it’s dynamic. It’s a sector with unlimited travel opportunity where long-lasting friendships are formed across the globe. It’s addictive, educational, ever-changing. It’s challenging but for the most part, fun. I feel very lucky to work in it. It’s true. You really can fall in love with fruit and veg.
Gain early access to talent
When we created The Fresh Careers Fair www.freshcareersfair.co.uk in 2016 our goal was to share our love for our sector. Many students had benefited from the successful programmes that we run annually at The London Produce Show and Conference and The New York Produce Show and Conference and we were keen to expand our involvement.
We wanted students to hear about the fresh produce industry at a stage when they are deciding which career path to take and to see it as a viable and exciting option. By engaging with students and their tutors at relevant colleges and universities we want to attract the best and brightest talent to our doors.
In championing the fresh produce cause, we found that related sectors were keen to join forces with us too. Next year we shall host our fourth Fresh Careers Fair at the Business Design Centre in London, a new venue which will enable us to grow the event further and cover a wider range of career opportunities. Our fresh produce exhibitors have now been joined by large contract caterers, retailers, hotel and restaurant groups, food and drink suppliers, service providers and others. This is a unique and specialised event for young people looking for a job in these crucial and vibrant sectors.
For 2019 we are hugely grateful to have the support of The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers as our headline sponsor. For the second year running their contribution will enable us to reach out and attract new young talent for our industry. This is an ambition furthered by the business internships offered through the Fruiterers Company together with sought after prizes for students who have obtained an outstanding level of achievement in the fields of horticulture and fruit. Joining them as a headline sponsor next year is The Fresh Produce Consortium, our FPC Business Partner for 2019, the voice of the UK industry and much-appreciated supporter of our efforts.
Our exhibitor roll call gives students access to the most forward-thinking businesses and graduate training schemes in our sector. Our line-up is supplemented by a roster of industry mentors who dedicate their time to talking to our student attendees about their particular field, motivating them with invaluable careers advice. We have a photographer on hand to take photos of our students for their future LinkedIn profiles and can provide transportation to get them to and from the show. We run competitions that they can enter, including one that sees the bravest of the brave coming face to face with our Fresh Produce and Foodservice Dragons, selected from the industry for their sheer scariness. Ha. It’s a fun and informative day and more than rewarding when we hear later from students in their new fresh produce careers.
Successful companies understand the importance of engaging with top-level talent at an early stage. A presence at The Fresh Careers Fair puts you front of mind, giving you the opportunity to showcase your company to the very best students.
Many of the young people who attend our event have only a vague idea about their future career, but they leave armed with a plethora of contacts and new ideas. Others might know which company they want to work for but often comment as they leave that they have discovered other interesting opportunities too. With its growing army of exhibitors and sponsors The Fresh Careers Fair can play an important role as an ambassador to students for the fresh produce and related sectors.
Why not join us as we present our industry to the future fresh produce work force?
If you want to attract the right talent to your team please do consider joining us as an exhibitor or sponsor. Please feel free to contact me for further details as to how you can take part.
If you are a student or under 30 and unwilling to settle for anything less than career happiness please do register for free to attend our event on 13 March 2019!
Tel: + 44 7711 509709