The fresh produce industry is to get more managers with engineering talents thanks to a new training package backed by growers, suppliers and retailers. The package adds to an existing programme designed by training firm Management Development Services and will be introduced in April. MDS manager Julia Swanson explained: "The industry needs high calibre recruits to maintain and manage existing technology and develop new technology through innovation." She said such personnel were especially needed because of the national shortage of skilled engineers: "The food industry is suffering from this trend as it is not generally seen by graduates as offering engineering management opportunities." Potential engineer-managers would be employed by MDS on a two-year contract involving six-month secondments with four different companies. These companies would subsidise their salary and training. Students would also receive six months' off-the-job training. The programme is run by a consortium of firms including Express Dairies, the Fyffes Group and Sainsbury. Trainees receive £5,500 for training, plus £15,150 salary, rising to £16,150 in their second year. A spokeswoman for MDS said: "At the end of two years, there is no employment obligation, but over the last two years, 100% of trainees have gained positions with member companies." {{PEOPLE MOVES }}