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Opportunities on a bigger scale

We are looking for talented and motivated graduates to join us on a three-year graduate programme. Take the next step and launch your career within in a leading, fast-paced and exciting fresh prepared food business!

The Graduate Programme at Bakkavor acts as an accelerated route into management, with the ultimate purpose to get our enthusiastic and talented graduates into senior level management roles, becoming our future leaders. The world is changing, our consumers and customers are changing, we need your help and insights to help guide and take us towards this future. Bakkavor is committed to develop and support our graduate talent through a network of contacts, and you will take on real responsibility and contribute to the business’s success immediately.

We offer six core functional programmes in the UK. Whichever path you take, you will experience the depth and breadth of our business by working with different departments, products and customers. The programme contains a role and location rotation, and puts you through a bespoke 6-step Leadership Programme, led by Fieri, a professional leadership training company. We see this as a great opportunity to work with different teams, different products, different customers and locations, all contributing to the acceleration of your learning.

All programmes are three years in length, starting from September – and involve a minimum of three placements across different locations, so flexibility is a must. The exception is Finance, which is three placements over three and a half years.

The Graduate Programme is not the only route for graduates into the business – particularly for those looking for a more permanent location. Please take a look at our vacancies or enquire for more information, as there are a number of direct-entry opportunities across our UK locations.

All enquiries, please direct to SP.GraduateEnquiries@Bakkavor.com

What We Offer You

What We Offer You

What You’ll Need to Apply

What You’ll Need to Apply

Product Development Programme

Great quality, innovation and insights are what make Bakkavor stand out. The Product Development team passionately works to identify the best products for customers and works closely with our Marketing and Commercial teams to partner with the customers, whilst aligning to internal operational teams to create excellent quality fresh food at a manufacturing scale.

Graduates on this programme have the fantastic opportunity to shape the nation’s table.

You are likely to work as a Development Technologist for the 3-year programme, working across three different locations with different customers or product categories as a part of a customer-focussed team, turning your passion for food, ingredients and ideas into products for the nation. You could be focussing on idea generation, recipe development, product trials and launches. An understanding of Manufacturing and the capabilities of the business are essential, to ensure the products are commercially viable and support the longevity of the customer partnership.

You will work side by side with our experienced and talented chefs, who’ll give you the freedom to flourish whilst challenging your ideas. You will get at least three site visits in your first year, plus formal training in: Sensory Analysis, Culinary Skills, Leadership and Management, Category Management and Commercial Skills, Consumer and Market Trends

The target role for when you come off the programme is a Senior Development Technologist, on a career development plan towards a Product Manager role.

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Commercial Sales & Management Programme

Commercial Sales and Management are at the centre of Bakkavor’s operations, driving our key customer relationships and facilitating commercial decisions and strategy. By discovering Bakkavor’s Commercial Sales and Management graduate programme, you’ll not only be embarking on a rewarding career at the heart of food manufacturing, you’ll be gaining exceptional all-round experience along with the opportunity to shape the future of our business.

Over three 12-month placements across any three of our UK locations, we’ll give you valuable exposure to a variety of business areas and will get you liaising with our customers, which include many of the biggest names in retail

From day one, you’ll contribute to key business projects and add value to your team. We’ll in turn invest in your learning and development, supporting you to understanding the key levers and activities within Commercial, whilst also supporting your skills development in areas such as Microsoft Excel, category management, commercial application and accounting. This is also underpinned by a leadership and behavioural programme with Fieri, and you’ll complete 6 exciting workshop residentials with the rest of the graduate community, focussing on building your capability and behaviours for future leadership roles.

You’ll start as a Commercial Graduate, supporting our Commercial Managers and Controllers and after two years, your target role is to become a Commercial Manager for one of our major accounts. We expect you to then continue your career development, moving to a Commercial Controller after 5 years. Ultimately, this programme is about gaining an all-round understanding of manufacturing, as there’s more than meets the eye to be able to get the food from farm to fork!

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Human Resources Programme

Our three-year HR graduate programme gives you valuable, practical work experience across our food manufacturing business – from factory located roles to our Shared Service Centre. We offer all this while supporting you to achieve the career-defining CIPD qualification – and preparing you for future HR leadership.

Without great people and skills, the business would not be as successful as it is. Supporting the strategic development and engagement of colleagues is an essential core element of the HR function, to ensure Bakkavor is well placed to respond and drive business success. The HR function works in a centralised model, with local HR Business Partner experts within our factory locations who are supported from the Central Functions – My HR Shared Services, Resourcing, Talent, Reward & Payroll, Systems and L&D.

The HR Programme is 3 years in length and is likely to see you work both within a factory location and within the central HR functions to provide you with the breadth, behaviours and skills necessary to enter into future senior HR roles. You can expect exposure to Resourcing, Employee Relations, L&D, Performance and Talent Management, HR Analytics, Employment Law, Reward Management and Systems.

Your target role when you come off the programme depends on the area you would like to pursue to continue your career development towards a Senior HR Business Partner within 5-7 years from starting. You could be working within the sites as a trainee or junior HR Business Partner, or within one of the central functions in a Supervisory or Projects role.

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Finance Programme

This is a 3.5 year CIMA affiliated programme that encourages people to look past the basics in Finance, and get involved in the wider decision making in the business to help the organisation to grow and thrive. We’ll see to it that you interact with all areas of our business, from manufacturing and supply chain, to new product development to commercial and marketing.

This programme provides interaction with different business units, to help gain a more rounded understanding of the Bakkavor Group. The roles will cover the core skills including, management accounting, financial management, risk management and process evaluation and redesign. The Finance Programme is aimed at providing long term succession planning within the finance function. It is based around the CIMA qualification. The programme is therefore a 3.5-year scheme, broken down into 2 elements;

  • Years 1 to 2 – Study and core experience
  • Then 1.5yrs – Higher level experience and personal development

All members of the finance programme will be expected to complete 3 placements. The first placement being 18 months, followed by two 12-month placements. These could be at any site in the UK and it is essential that you are flexible regarding location in the first 3.5 years.

After the 3 mandatory placements you’ll work on a personal development plan, and the Graduate Champion will highlight the experience required and the placements for years 4 and 5 of the programme. At this time Graduates are no longer expected to be flexible in their location, although it is an advantage in order to secure the most optimal opportunity.

We’ll be giving you the training and experience you need to gain the CIMA qualification within 3 years whilst exposing you to different product areas and scales of business to give you core skills in management accounting, financial accounting, risk management, process evaluation and redesign. Ultimately, it’s about giving you the in-depth understanding you need to reach a key management role within 5 years.

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Manufacturing Programme

We use materials, labour and equipment to create thousands of high-quality fresh products every day. Your challenge… to get them all together in the right place, in the right quantity, to be delivered at the right time. If you are looking for a career that gives you real accountability and an incredible level of variety our Manufacturing Graduate Programme could be just right for you.

The beating heart of our business. Operations covers a broad core part of the organization, and are responsible for delivering high quality, innovative products to our customers on a massive scale! The programme is 3 years in length (3 x 12-month placements), sat within our Manufacturing Career Path and most likely based within the factory for a majority of the time, across 3 different locations. You are likely to have supervisory responsibility from the very beginning and need to learn the importance of being a great team manager who engages their colleagues, whilst maintaining and setting high standards for operational excellence, food safety and health & safety.

Your target role for when you come off the programme is a Manufacturing Section Leader or Manager, on a development plan towards a Senior Section Manager within Manufacturing. Within 5-7 years of starting, with strong focus and development, it is likely you will enter a Factory/Operations Manager role.

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Food Technology Programme

If you are interested in the scientific and technical aspects of food manufacturing, join our Food Technology Graduate Programme. You will find yourself working with teams across our business to ensure we develop and manufacture safe, high-quality products day in, day out.

Product safety and quality are the backbone of our operations, and essential to the business and our customers. The Technical function supports ownership from all functions and suppliers in doing manufacturing correctly, safely and to the expected high standard.

This programme works closely with all areas internally and externally and is based both within the factory and the office, depending on the role. Working with our customers is essential, in addition to facilitating the company to have the right systems and process in place, to meet the customer and industry standards or codes of practice. The Food Technology Programme is 3 years in length and is likely to involve working with either with the Quality, Technical Services, Process or Raw Materials teams. Bakkavor have an essential Central Technical team who drive governance and standards across the group, and this area also contains future career opportunities.

Your target role for when you come off the programme depends on the area within Technical you would like to pursue to continue your development towards a Technical Manager equivalent role within 5-7 years of starting. Typically, you can expect to be in roles such as QA Supervisor or Senior Technologist on a development plan towards Quality Manager, Process Manager, Technical Services Manager.

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Meet our graduates

Don’t just take our word for it – listen to what our graduates have to say.


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about our programme. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for email SP.GraduateEnquiries@Bakkavor.com ' where we will be happy to help.

When do you open and close for applications?

Applications for our 2022 Graduate Programme are now open. Click here to apply via our Early Careers portal. The closing date for the graduate and placement programmes is 9th January 2022.

NB: We reserve the right to close the application window early if we receive sufficient applications for a programme. Therefore, if you are interested, please submit your application as early as possible.

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What are the minimum qualification requirements?

We are looking for a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree and at least three months' relevant work experience. Please refer to the 'What You'll Need To Apply' section above for a full list of requirements before applying.

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If i am rejected from the process can i reapply?

You can only apply once in each application year. If you were unsuccessful in one campaign you are welcome to apply from the next opening.

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Where will the role be based?

This depends on the programme. We truly believe that by rotating placements, you are exposed to broader learning opportunities. You should be prepared to relocate up to three times - to take up three placements. Our sites are located across the whole of the UK so you will need to show great flexibility.

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When do i find out where my first placement will be?

We commit to letting you know the June before you start, providing you with 2-3 months’ notice to organise your accommodation and check out your new location! We’ll link you with other new graduates, or existing graduates, so you can explore sharing arrangements should you wish to.

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Do you accept applications from candidates who need a work permit?

Whilst Bakkavor welcomes applications for all members of the community it is unfortunately not able to provide sponsorship for overseas applicants for the vacancies on the graduate programme.

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Do I need a driving license?

It is not mandatory but preferable to have a driving license and access to your own transport due to the locations of some of the placements.

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I have submitted my registration, when will i hear from you?

Once you have submitted your registration form, we will send you an email confirming it has been received. In addition, you can also keep track of the current status of your application in your online account area. We will update your account area and send you an email to advise you of next steps.

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Advice on Applying

Advice on Applying

Top Tips

  • Be yourself! It’s important you demonstrate to us your great qualities so we can see your fit for our graduate programme, we want to get the best out of you
  • Take your time! It’s a busy period for you, but getting things right is something we believe in. Relax, and set aside enough time to complete each stage
  • Show your passion! We love to meet passionate graduates who have a desire to progress in their careers
  • Having a passion for food or the supply of food is important to all our programmes
  • Ask Questions. At the assessment centre stage, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with some of our current graduates, a great opportunity to get to know the programme in more detail
  • Come to a Careers Fair! We’ll be coming to various career fairs across the UK. Come and meet us so we can bring our programmes to life for you
  • Video Reflections. Choose an appropriate environment, read the questions carefully and give it your best shot. Don’t worry too much about this, it's more simple than you think and imagine you’re talking to a fellow graduate

Information for Parents & Universities

If you’re a parent or work at a university and would like to find out more about our programmes, we’ve created this section to answer any questions you might have.

Why do you recruit graduates?

Put simply, we see our apprentices and graduates as the future of our business. We welcome people with the tenacity, desire and an inquisitive nature to enable innovation that naturally forms part of our culture.

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Where do we have opportunities?

This depends on the programme, but graduates should be prepared to relocate up to three times to take up three placements and then a permanent position. Our sites are located across the whole of the UK so they will need to show great flexibility.

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University partnerships

We welcome opportunities to work with universities in a strategic way, if you work at a university and would like to get in touch, please contact us.

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Where can i find more information?

If you are a parent or work at a University, and would like to find out more about our graduate programmes please get in touch by sending us an email to SP.GraduateEnquiries@Bakkavor.com

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