Agri-Food Industry Offered Graduate Support

Companies operating within Northern Ireland’s Food & Drinks sector will now be given a new opportunity to use the talent and expertise of a skilled graduate to help develop their business.

Enthusiastic graduates on the PremièrePlus+ Food & Drink Programme will work alongside NI agri-food companies to support them with Business Improvement Projects that have measurable outcomes such as the development of sales and marketing strategies, finance, quality systems, human resources and technology/ICT.

Based on the award-winning Première Graduate Development Programme, PremièrePlus+ Food & Drink has been initiated in response to one of the key recommendations of the ‘Fit For Market’ strategy, driven by the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership (FSIP).

‘Fit for Market’ is a two-year strategy that aims to develop the marketing, supply chain, capability and innovation potential of producers and processors in Northern Ireland. It is currently being implemented by Invest Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development under the guidance of FSIP.

Commenting on the programme Dan Flinter, Chairman of the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership, said:

“Through this graduate development programme, managers in the agri-food industry have a unique opportunity to address a key development need in their business. The PremièrePlus+ programme supports managers and graduates working together to improve the competitiveness and profitability of their business in the food and drinks sector.”

Damian McErlain from Genesis Breads of the World had this to say about PremièrePlus+:

“To remain competitive in an extremely dynamic industry it is vital that we introduce a continuous flow of well trained graduates to Northern Ireland’s Food & Drink sector. The PremièrePlus+ Programme focuses on the key areas needed to foster a career in food industry management and has proven to be an excellent asset to all of Northern Ireland’s top food sector companies.”

PremièrePlus+ is a joint venture between the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) at Loughry Campus and Parity, one of the UK’s leading management development companies.

Graduates are available to undertake a 17 week project in the company from early February 2006. Companies who are interested should call Janine Moore at Parity on 028 9024 0780. For more information visit