Top Corporate Graduate Programs: Learning to Lead in the Food Processing Industry

Many food companies offer graduate training programs to help graduates make the right career choices and build future leaders.

Is graduation just around the corner? Have you already finished a program at college or university? It is time to decide where you want to go with your career. If you have never worked in the food and beverage processing sector, it can be difficult to figure out which position is right for you. With more than 54,000 jobs in the food processing industry, there are many options! To help graduates make the right career choice and to build future leaders, many food companies offer graduate training programs.

What is a graduate training program?

Graduate training programs allow recent graduates to try various roles within a company. This allows graduates to build on their strengths and explore their passions. The programs often end with a permanent position in a rewarding career.

In this article, we share some of the best graduate programs available in the food industry:

Global Management, Logistics, Brewery and Sales Trainee Programs at Labatt Brewing

First on the list is the largest brewer in Canada, Labatt Brewing. This brewery was founded by John Kinder Labatt in 1847 in London, Ontario. A breakdown of their operations includes six breweries in Creston, Edmonton, London, Montreal, Halifax and St. John’s, a head office in Toronto, as well as four regional Beer Institutes, 15 sales offices, and 23 warehouses and distribution centres nationwide.

Labatt’s offers four graduate programs.

Global Management Trainee (GMT) Program

The Global Management Trainee program is a 10-month intensive, cross-functional, learning experience. University Graduates travel around the country working in different breweries and offices across the country getting to know top leaders along the way. They are given the opportunity to work with an innovation team on the development of a brand which could eventually lead the individual to a first-time position as a Group Manager, Sales Rep or even a Front-Line Manager.

Supply Chain Trainee Program

The Logistics Trainee Program on the other hand is designed for graduates with a strong interest in supply chain, operations and problem solving. This 6-month program cycles the graduate around the country learning about the complex supply chain required to move beer around the world. They begin by taking a deep dive learning about Labatt’s supply department followed by leadership training courses.  Graduates will also spend time in the field at wholesalers learning how a warehouse works and products gets out of the door.

Brewery Trainee Program

The Brewery Development Trainee Program cycles the graduates into various roles in the company.  Candidates begin with a supply chain overview followed with the brewing process, packaging processes, logistics processes, maintenance.  The program ends with the candidate preparing for a first placement and project presentation which will be presented to VPs and Managers.

Sales Trainee Program

Finally, the Sales Trainee program is designed for graduates to explore the various roles the sales department take on. Opportunities include roles in forecasting, trade marketing, business and wholesaler development, pricing and promotion analysis and key account management. Overall, this 7-week program gives individuals the chance to learn about the diversity of challenges and opportunities within sales.

Explore programs at Labatt Brewing.

Cross-functional leadership through Unilever’s Future Leader Program

Unilever is a global company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Not only does this company produce food and beverages but also cleaning agents and personal care products. It is Europe’s seventh most valuable company.

Unilever’s Future Leader Program is designed to develop leaders in their company by providing challenging and purposeful opportunities to accelerate their roles in the company. The programme encompasses rotations within and across functions in an accelerated learning environment. This includes extended leadership contact, formal training and professional development. The only requirement is that the candidate has some bachelor’s degree. 

Explore programs through Unilever’s Future Leader Program.

Developing Engineers and Technologists at Ferrero Canada

Ferrero Chocolate is an Italian manufacturer of chocolate and confectionary and are best known for Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and Kinder Bueno. The Italian manufacturer is the second largest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world. Ferrero has a massive manufacturing plant located in Brantford, Ontario which employs more than 1000 individuals.

Their graduate program is 24-month structured program which includes intensive on the job training and coaching by experienced engineers/Technologists. The exciting part is that the program includes a global on-boarding phase where graduates meet from all over the world to learn language courses, soft skills training and technical education. Finally, individuals are given project tasks in several strategic areas of the product organization, as well as opportunities to become familiar with different business units. 

Explore programs at Ferrero Canada.

Students explore a variety of positions at Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods is a Canadian meat company in founded in 1961 and is one of Canada’s largest agribusinesses, owning poultry and hog farms across the country. Operations include processing plants in Hamilton, Winnipeg and Montreal.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. overs a three-year rotational program known as the new Graduate Career Development Program. Following completion of the program, successful participants graduate into roles at Maple Leaf Foods, where they will continue to grow their careers.

To be considered for the program students need to be recent graduates within the last two years or students soon to graduate from university or college with a minimum overall B average. As well, have a strong passion for manufacturing and operations and the strong affiliation with Maple Leaf Foods’ Leadership Values.

Explore programs at Maple Leaf Foods.

Developing food leaders at The Kerry Group

Kerry is a global company with operations in more than 100 countries around the world. They have five plants in Canada, including two in Quebec. They produce a range of food products everything from flavours to nutritionals.

Kerry offers a Graduate Development Programme designed to turn graduates into the future leaders of Kerry. Their intensive two-year programme allows graduates the opportunity to work on innovative projects which are real opportunities in the company. In conjunction will meet with senior leaders and be coached throughout by your dedicated mentor. Upon the completion of the program workers will have access to a growing company and through the Kerry Learning Academy. 

They have opportunities in:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Commercial (sales, marketing and category management)
  • Engineering
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Operations
  • Quality
  • Procurement
  • Research and development
  • Supply chain

Explore programs at The Kerry Group.

R&D, Engineering and Finance Leadership Experiences at Mars

Mars is an American manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food productions. Some names you might be familiar with include Hubba Bubba, M&M and Purina Foods.

This company offers recent graduates the opportunity to go through the Mars Leadership Experience which is designed for those who aspire for general management. During the experience graduates rotate 3 diverse functions of the business, including Sales or Marketing and Supply Chain/ Manufacturing.

They also offer Functional Leadership Experiences for individuals looking to pursue leadership careers in technical areas like R&D, Engineering and Finance. Participants will rotate across 3 different roles within their function to provide a rich understanding of their technical area.

Explore programs at Mars.

Explore more career opportunities in food and beverage processing

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