6 graduate programs to start your career in the food and beverage processing industry

Finishing college or university is always exciting. But, knowing what you should be doing next can be a challenge.

There are more than 54,000 jobs available right now in the food and beverage processing industry. But, if you have never done the job before, how can you know which role interests you most? To help answer this question, food companies offer graduate programs.

What is a graduate training program?

Not to be confused with graduate programs offered at post-secondary institutions, corporate graduate programs allow university or college graduates to cycle between various roles in a company. This allows alumni to develop their strengths and leadership skills and pursue their passions. The program often ends with a permanent position for the participant.

In this article, we share some of the best graduate programs available in the food and beverage processing sector:

Labatt Brewery

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

First on the list is the largest brewer in Canada, Labatt Brewing. John Kinder Labatt founded this brewery 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, and four regional Beer Institutes, 15 sales offices, and 23 warehouses and distribution centres nationwide.

Labatt’s offers four graduate programs:

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 allowed to work with an innovation team to develop a brand which could eventually lead the individual to the first-time position as a Group Manager, Sales Representative or even a Front-Line Manager.

On the other hand, the Logistics Trainee Program is designed for graduates with a strong interest in the supply chain, operations, and problem-solving. This six-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 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 get out of the door.

Graduates of the Brewery Development Trainee Program are placed in various roles within the company. During the first part of the course, candidates discuss the supply chain, brewing, packaging, logistics, and maintenance. After completing the program, the candidate will present a first placement and project presentation to VPs and Managers.

Finally, graduates can explore the various aspects of the sales department through our Sales Trainee program. Opportunities include forecasting, trade marketing, business and wholesaler development, pricing and promotion analysis and key account management. The seven-week program offers individuals a chance to gain a better understanding of the diverse challenges in sales.


Unilever is a global company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Additionally, the company manufactures cleaning agents and personal care products. It is Europe’s seventh most valuable company.

As part of Unilever’s Future Leader Program, young people are provided challenging and purposeful opportunities to accelerate their roles within the company.

In an accelerated learning environment, the program includes rotations within and across functions. Developing leadership skills as well as formal and informal training is part of this process. All that is required is that the candidate hold a bachelor’s degree.

Ferrero Chocolate

Ferrero Chocolate is an Italian chocolate and confectionery manufacturer best known for Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, and Kinder Bueno. It is the second biggest chocolate manufacturer in the world. Located in Brantford, Ontario, Ferrero employs more than 1,000 people in its massive manufacturing facility.

In their graduate program, experienced engineers and technologists assist and coaching to students over 24 months. Graduates from the program go through a global onboarding stage, during which they take language courses, get soft skills training, and get technical education.

Finally, individuals are given project tasks in several strategic areas of the product organization and opportunities to become familiar with different business units.

Maple Leaf Foods

The Maple Leaf Foods Company was founded in 1961 and operates poultry and hog farms in Canada, comprising one of the country’s largest agri-businesses. The company operates processing plants in Hamilton, Winnipeg, and Montreal.

As part of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.’s new Graduate Career Development Program, you will rotate through three positions over three years. Successful graduates of the program will continue to grow their careers at Maple Leaf Foods.

To qualify for the program, students need to be recent graduates within the last two years or students who are about to graduate from college or university with a minimum overall B grade point average. In addition, have a strong commitment to manufacturing and operations, as well as to Maple Leaf Foods’ leadership values.

Kerry Group

A global company with operations in more than 100 countries, Kerry is a leader in developing countries. The company operates five plants in Canada, two of which are in Quebec. Among the products, they produce a variety of flavors and nutritionals.

The company has a Graduate Development Program that prepares graduates to become future leaders in the university. During their two-year intensive program, graduates can work on projects that are real opportunities at the company. The mentor will coach you throughout the entire process along with advice from senior leaders.

By completing the program, workers will have the opportunity to join an expanding company and become a member of 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


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.

Graduates of this company can participate in the Mars Leadership Experience, a program designed for those in search of a management career. Graduating students rotate through three distinct business functions: Sales, Marketing, and Supply Chain.

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 three different roles within their function to provide a rich understanding of their specialized area.

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