Future Leaders Graduate Scheme – Meet Freddie

The Billington Group would not be where it is without its amazing teams. In this ‘Our People’ series, we’ll be sharing a bit more about the diverse roles across our businesses and providing some insight into what makes Billington employees tick!

What attracted you to the Future Leaders role?

The Future Leaders Programme provides the opportunity to work across the food and agricultural sector in a range of positions, which is a perfect fit for me being at the start of my career. Prior to starting the programme, I wasn’t sure which areas I would find working in most interesting, so the opportunity to gain experience across the board was hugely appealing to me. 

The leadership mentoring aspect really attracted me to the scheme when I was looking for graduate roles, as The Billington Group really prioritises the development of their graduates and their leadership qualities. It’s such an important quality to have, and I know the skills I develop with be a huge asset to my career now and into the future. 

What have been your highlights so far?

Aside from meeting lots of new people, it has to be the tasting sessions! I joined in with a feasibility session last week where we got to taste some of the new desserts – they were all fantastic. 

What advice would you give to others looking for a role in the industry or on a graduate scheme? 

I would say to make the most of the different placements, and stay open-minded. You might enjoy something more than you think you would in an area you weren’t too sure on at first!  A scheme is a great way to gain exposure to different areas of a business, meeting and learning from lots of new people. 

I started the graduate scheme unsure of which department I was going to find most interesting, but already I’m looking forward to experiencing such different parts of the business, this role provides great variety. By the end of the two-year programme I’ll have a good idea of what aspects of the jobs I’ve enjoyed the most, where my skills lie and where within the industry would be a good fit for me. 

What are three things you’ve learnt during your time with The Group so far? 

Although I’ve not been with The Billington Group very long, I feel I’ve already developed a range of skills that will help me throughout each placement and into the future. 

This includes gaining a grasp of how the ordering software works, as I’m responsible for ordering ingredients for next week’s plan. It’s great to be given this responsibility as a graduate, and shows the Group really invest in you as an employee. 

I’ve also learnt a great deal more about the supply chain and how dynamic it can be, especially in the face of challenges outside of our control. It will be a great first placement for me, as I will be thrown in the deep end working with the supply chain at this current period, navigating the implications of Brexit and Covid. 

What three things do you want to learn more about or explore? 

  • Sustainability – what are the different plans across the group to become a carbon neutral group and what targets have been set?
  • What is the future of food production in the UK and how self-sufficient can the UK become in providing ingredients for food manufacturing. 

What is your dream role long term? 

To be a leader of a company. This is why I chose this future leaders programme as it will help me develop the skills I need to achieve my goals. 

What’s the best part of your job? 
There are lots of great things that come with working in The Billington Group, but so far my favourite part of the role has been the tasting sessions!

What makes the food/agriculture sector exciting to work in? 

It’s always changing, no two days are the same. My first placement is with Billington Foods in Wellingborough, where I am working with the supply chain team. External factors have presented a few challenges recently, but that makes day to day work much more exciting. 

Can you describe the Billington Group in three words? 

  • Diverse
  • Dynamic
  • Innovative 

Now, tell us a bit more about you: eg where you’re from, your journey up to now, hobbies etc.

I have just graduated Newcastle University with a degree in Agriculture-Business Management, where I studied the whole supply chain – from how products are grown on farms through to how they make their way onto people’s plates. 

Prior to working for The Billington Group, most of my working life has been on farms in harvest roles during my university summer holidays. 

Throughout school and university, I have always played in multiple sports teams, including rugby which has to be my favourite, I’ve played it for as long as I can remember. 

Moving to my first placement in Wellingborough was a tough pill to swallow, being an avid Leicester tigers fan living in Northamptonshire doesn’t seem quite right – but the job is worth it!

Originally, I am from Staffordshire, but having spent most of my time growing up at boarding school I’ve lived all around the midlands, before heading up to Newcastle for university. So, it’s nice to be based back where I am familiar with. 

Coffee or tea? 


Fun fact about you: 

I converted a camper van over lockdown, adding heating, hot and cold running water, a shower and an oven.

Favourite meal? 


Favourite weird food combination? 

Tomato ketchup on toast