6 skills graduates need to work in the food and drink sector

The Food and Drink sector is growing and thriving with new opportunities for graduates developing all the time. However, as Hannah Kelly explains, a new report has highlighted skill gaps graduates will need to fill if they are to be successful in the industry.

The recently released Food Wise 2025,a report compiled by the Department of Agriculture & Food, sets out a plan for the development of the agri-food industry over the next decade, said they expect to see a further 23,000 jobs created, including the creation of additional graduate programmes, over the next ten years in the Irish Food and Beverage Sector.

“The Food and Drink sector has grown strongly over the period from 2010 to 2016 and has recovered”, the report said. “Employment in the sector increased to 54,000 in 2016, an increase of 6,600 from 2009.”

To achieve further growth though, it was stressed that gaps in skills required for the sector need to be addressed. Graduates eager to work in this sector should aim to focus on developing skills in the following areas that the report highlighted:

  1. Think internationally: Develop your knowledge of, and skills in, international trade and logistics. Companies also place a high emphasis on language and multi-cultural skills. More specifically in this area you should work on developing experience in customer management, dealing with international customers and suppliers and supply management.
  2. Innovation: In particular, companies are looking for graduates with production development skills. More specifically the report identified gaps in portfolio management, packaging technology and design engineering. Talk to your careers advisor or look up companies who could help you bridge this skills gap.
  3. IT and Numeracy: Employers are looking for graduates with good numeracy and IT skills no matter what section of the company you’ll be in. These skills are particularly useful as companies seek to merge roles within their organisations through automated manufacturing procedures.
  4. Supply Chain Management: Focus on customer requirements and standards, managing money effectively and reducing inventory levels. These are all skills companies are looking for in potential employees no matter what part of the business you might be working in.
  5. Leadership: In the gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, we found that 37.1% of employers identified lack of leadership hard skill shortfalls. Being able to demonstrate the potential to lead a team is important as both more strategic and engaged leadership is a skill gap identified in the industry.
  6. Financial and Commercial Acumen: As mentioned above, a lot of companies are moving towards less structured roles, with cross-functional teams and a broader variety of work the ever increasing norm. This means no matter where you are in the business; you’ll be expected to have good financial and commercial judgement.

For more information on different career sectors visit: https://gradireland.com/career-sectors

 


Ireland’s Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017

gradireland awards 2017

 

Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers reveals Ireland’s most sought-after employers from the perspective of those that matter most – the students and graduates who will provide the next generation of innovators and leaders in Irish business.

The Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers survey is part of the European Student Barometer, the largest pan-European survey of graduate trends and is conducted by Europe’s leading graduate research firm, trendence. The data produced decide the winners of Ireland’s 100 and the winners of the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards and contribute also to a wider study across all 24 European Union countries.

Here is the 2017 list in full.

You can find more information in gradireland’s book Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers, published every Autumn and the 2016 edition is still available to view via gradireland.com/publications.

Follow us on twitter @gradireland for graduate recruitment  updates and like gradireland on Facebook


How to land an internship with a large graduate employer

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Large graduate employers often take on interns too. We’ve put together what the benefits of internships with large employers are and how to find vacancies.

Do well as an intern for an employer that also runs a graduate scheme and you could significantly increase your chances of being hired there when you finish university.

Even if you don’t end up working there permanently, you will still have a prestigious name to add to your CV. You will also have benefited from the training you received from your internship employer. This will stand to you in the future.

How to find an internship at a big employer

Firstly take a look at the graduate jobs section of the gradireland website. You can filter your search to focus only on internship roles advertised. Or if you know that a company runs a graduate scheme, chances are it will have an internship programme too – most employers have a careers website where you can find out.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by deadlines that seem far away. If an employer gets enough quality internship applications before the set deadline, it may cut the application period short. To be on the safe side, as soon as you see an internship advertised, start work on your application so you can submit it in good time.

How to apply for these internships

The application and selection process for internships is often similar to the process for graduate jobs. It will almost definitely involve an online application form and a face-to-face interview. In addition, at different stages you may need to complete psychometric tests, a phone interview and an assessment day. You can find all the information you need on the gradireland website where we cover

Remember applying and interviewing for internships is a great way to improve your interview techniques.

Sector-specific advice for finding an internship at a big graduate employer

Make the most of the advice available that is tailored to specific industries by visiting the career sectors section of the gradireland website.

Internships with smaller intakes: are they worth it?

‘Yes’ is the answer. While they might be harder to find , they can still give you skills and experience that will help you get a graduate job.

Check out our blog on “Top reasons to look for an internship that has a smaller intake


On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House. The following companies have been nominated for the Best Internship Programme more than 50 intake:

*A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk


Top reasons to look for an internship that has a smaller intake

Top

Don’t limit your internship options by only focusing on larger graduate employers. If you’re looking for an internship experience that allows you to see the effect of your efforts quickly you should consider looking for opportunities with small and medium-sized businesses, typically organisations with fewer than 250 employees.

Small, high potential businesses can offer you wide-ranging opportunities to put your talents to good use and are a great source of graduate employment. They also tend to be less oversubscribed than big, high-profile graduate recruiters. You may well find that these types of internships can give you a good head start in the race for a graduate job.

Why choose a smaller internship intake?

  1. In a smaller organisation, you can make a bigger impact. Processes in smaller companies tend to be shorter and more visible, so you can see the effect of your work relatively quickly.
  1. The work you do will impress graduate recruiters. Many placements with smaller companies are project based. This means that you can take ownership of a task and see it through to the end – something that will impress recruiters when it comes to graduate job applications. You will be closely involved in the employer’s whole business process and gain a real insight into how they operate.
  1. Early responsibility. If you have the chance to take ownership of a task and see it through, your initiative will be tested and you’ll be able to develop your leadership, team work, time management and organisational skills.
  1. Your contribution will be highly valued. In a smaller organisation a spare pair of hands can undertake tasks no-one else has time for. Interns often provide a valuable resource to employers who are busy working hard on the core business and don’t have the time to look at issues such as competitor analysis, marketing or market research. An intern can dedicate their time to one of these areas and offer enterprising ideas to improve the business.
  1. Your placement can be tailored to suit you. Work experience at a small organisation is unlikely to follow a standard, predetermined schedule and it should be possible to give you opportunities that reflect your interests.
  1. Do well, and there’s a good chance you’ll be asked back. A high proportion of small employers may be able to offer students further work after their placement, from additional one-off projects to full-time employment when they graduate.
  1. If you’re a budding entrepreneur you should see a small organisation in action. If you’re interested in starting your own business in future, a placement is an excellent way to gain insight into how a small to medium-sized business is run. You may even have the opportunity to work with the company’s founder and find out first-hand how the business was set up.
  1. Think local. Whereas many work experience schemes and internships with large graduate employers are likely to be based in larger cities, small businesses can be found in locations across the country. Why not start building up your network of local contacts now?
  1. Companies with fewer than 250 employees may be more likely to offer opportunities to focus on particularly niche areas.

How to apply for work experience with small companies

You can research opportunities for internships with small and medium-size companies via gradireland and your university careers service. If a company that interests you hasn’t formally advertised a work experience opportunity, make a speculative application.

Your university or employment service may advertise vacation work with local companies. This will give you a chance to gain some practical evidence of your skills and develop your understanding of how businesses work.

Or if you think a larger graduate employer is a better fit read our blog “How to land an internship with a large graduate employer


On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House and the following companies are nominated for the Best internship programme less than 50 intake:

A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #2

what_do_graduates_do

In the second of a series of articles, we continue to look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland. However, when it comes to the relevance of qualifications, there are quite differing views depending on the level of qualification and the sector of employment.

Graduates and qualifications

For graduates of 2015, 62% of Honours Bachelor Degree holders rated the relevance of their qualifications as relevant or most relevant to their current area of employment. Meanwhile, 76% of graduates with Higher Diplomas and Postgraduate Diplomas found their qualifications more relevant or most relevant to their work. 70% of Masters and Doctorate graduates rate their qualification as relevant or most relevant to their work, while interestingly, 11% rate it as irrelevant or most irrelevant.

Employment Overseas

62% of graduate with Honours Bachelor Degrees found that their educational qualification was relevant/most relevant to the area of employment, compared to 59% with a Masters or Doctorate qualification. This compares to Higher and Postgraduate Diploma graduates who have the lowest level of satisfaction, with just 53% viewing their qualification to be relevant/most relevant to their area of employment.

Employed in Ireland and Overseas

Agriculture, Forestries, Fisheries & Veterinary, Helath and Welfare and Education Honours Bachelor Degree graduates reported the highest levels of relevance between their employment and education, at 86%, 84% and 82% respectively.

The majority of Masters and Doctorate graduates, as would be expected, reported high levels of relevance between their educational qualification and their employment. Fields that rated their education particularly relevant included Health and Welfare (86%), Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction (82%) and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary (80%).

Interestingly, high proportions of Arts & Humanities graduates rated their education as irrelevant/most irrelevant to their employment, with 51% of Honours Degree holders, 26% of Higher or Postgraduate Diploma holders and 29% of Masters and Doctorate holders of this opinion.

In our next article, we’ll look at graduate salaries for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #1

what_do_graduates_do

In the first of a series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland.

Snapshot:

There were 18,526 students surveyed, with qualifications between levels 8-10.

Overall, 68% are in employment, with 57% employed in Ireland and a further 11% are working overseas. Only 6% of all graduates surveyed are still seeking employment nine months after graduation.

Those with Honours Bachelor Degrees

From the class of 2014, nine months after graduation, 58% were in employment. This has risen to 62% for the class of 2015, with the vast majority (85%) of them working in Ireland. Only one in ten graduates are going overseas to seek their first job, with the UK still viewed as the most favourable destination.

In terms of where the jobs are in different sectors, there is still a huge demand for teachers, and graduates in this area have the highest rates of employment. After education, IT has the highest proportion of employed graduates, at 70%, which reflects the consistent growth in this area.

One of the stranger results of the study was that graduates who were awarded a pass degree demonstrated the highest levels of employment (74%) while those who received a first-class Honours degree had the lowest, at 57%. The reverse is true in terms of progression into further study. While this finding is unusual, it is perhaps attributable to the fact that a higher award is necessary for acceptance into postgraduate study, with those who obtain first class honours more likely to pursue further study.

Those with Higher & Postgraduate Diplomas 

78% of those with these Diplomas are in employment, up from 76% from the class of 2014, with 75% employed in Ireland, compared to 68% from the class of 2014. This has led to only 3% seeking employment overseas, down from 8% in the previous year’s research.

Those with Masters/Doctorates

80% of Masters and PhD graduates are in employment, with 64% finding work in Ireland and the remainder overseas, with the UK the most popular. The sectors with the highest rates of employment for Masters and doctoral students were Business, Administration & Law and Education students at 87% and 86% respectively.

In our next article, we’ll look at the relevance of each qualification for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.

 


Range of choices for postgrad students highlighted at Ireland’s largest further study fair.

 

February 15th 2016 saw hundreds of students and over 60 exhibitors at the gradireland Further Study Fair at the RDS to explore the massive range of opportunities available within the world of postgraduate study.

It is estimated that around 35% of students go on to further study after earning their degree, with last year seeing more than 19,000 students making to decision to pursue further study, according to data from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Director of gradireland, Mark Mitchell, says that the best way for students to make the most of further study is to have a firm objective as to why they are studying for a further qualification:

“If you’re going to pursue postgraduate study, make sure you understand the commitment involved. Research the employability benefits that certain postgraduate courses can bring, a postgrad qualification can be hugely attractive to employers and can also greatly enhance your earning potential in certain sectors. We were delighted with the event and the amount of information which we were able to present to students and graduates.”

The most recent edition of gradireland’s Graduate Salary & Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey found that 60% of employers viewed postgraduate qualifications as being important when assessing an application. This correlates with research into employment rates straight after college, which reveal that 78% of postgraduate graduates are in employment, compared to 58%of undergraduates.

The Irish, UK and mainland European postgraduate providers at the RDS showcased a host of courses on offer, and attendees also found out what financial supports are available for them. Seminars ran throughout the event, exploring themes such as: Postgraduate funding, conversion courses, studying Master’s programmes in Europe, how to write the dreaded personal statement and what are the best routes into teaching.

The Irish Research Council also attended the fair, promoting the unique and growing focus which dedicated research presents for postgraduate students, in 2016 alone the Irish Research Council awarded €30 million in funding, to 373 new researchers. Over half of this was awarded to the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme. This scheme funded 206 researchers in total, with an average award of just over €75,000.

Search for the right postgraduate course for you, and get all the advice you need in our dedicated further study section. We have completely updated and curated our funding section, with the issue of finance one of the primary concerns when it comes to considering postgraduate study.