Bord Bia looks to Galway for future food and drink industry leaders

Cathal Murphy.

Cathal Murphy.

Bord Bia has launched its 2021 postgraduate programme with up to 80 fully-funded places on offer at its Talent Academy, which include a fully funded masters at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, a tax-free bursary of €25,000 to €30,000, and a guaranteed work placement through the agency’s domestic and global network.

The Bord Bia Talent Academy was established to help identify and develop future executive talent for Ireland’s food and drink industry, as it looks to grow and diversify into new markets. Export market diversification has been ranked by the industry as its second-biggest focus as companies actively seek to expand into new markets in response to Brexit.

The Bord Bia Talent Academy offers five individual programmes through corporate and academic partnerships in areas of sales, marketing, sustainability, consumer insights, innovation, supply chain and procurement. Applications are currently being sought from Galway graduates for the marketing fellowship and international graduate programmes run in partnership with UCD Smurfit School. The marketing fellowship is intended for graduates with a few years’ work experience, while the international graduate programme is open to new graduates with limited or no experience.

According to Michael Murphy, organisation and industry talent director with Bord Bia, the potential opportunities for graduates in the industry are immense. “Last year Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture exports reached a record €13 billion, delivering 67 per cent growth in a decade," he said. "Bord Bia is actively seeking to recruit and retain top class talent for this dynamic and growing sector, with the Talent Academy acting as an incubator for individuals seeking to supercharge their careers. Over 80 per cent of the alumni of the marketing fellowship, for example, are retained in relevant food industry roles upon graduating from the 18 month programme, reflecting the demand and opportunities that exist for employment at home and abroad.”

The Talent Academy programmes, some of which have been running for more than 10 years, attract a wide range of graduates across many disciplines from third level colleges in Galway and across the country. “While our marketing fellowship is for graduates with a few years’ experience, overall, the range of programmes on offer ensures – and welcomes – participants with wide and diverse backgrounds, from hospitality to healthcare, event management to economics, agriculture to finance,” Mr Murphy added.

Kinvara native Cathal Murphy joined the Bord Bia Marketing Fellowship in 2011. Based in London, Mr Murphy supported Irish companies in the dairy, meat, snack foods, and spirits industries.

“The fellowship offered me the opportunity to ‘short circuit’ the traditional career path into the food and drink industry, where I could combine my prior experience in food research with practical on-the-ground commercial experience," he said. "The fellowship itself was really well structured – challenging, but rewarding, and with access to some of the world's leading marketing professors. The skills I developed on the programme are those I carry into my current role as senior marketing manager at Bewleys Coffee in Dublin.”

Successful applicants for the forthcoming programmes will be placed into one of Bord Bia’s 15 international locations, or with food and drink industry companies nationally and internationally, depending on the specific programme. Mars, McDonalds, Nestlé, Tesco, and Unilever are among the international companies that offer placements, along with many leading and emerging Irish companies.

“Fellows on the marketing and international graduate programmes will combine this dynamic, hands-on experience, with a fully funded master’s qualification from UCD Smurfit School, with access to some of the world’s best food industry educators from business schools including Harvard, IMD, NYU Stern, and UCD Smurfit School,” said Mr Murphy.

“This combination of academic learning and on-the-job international experience provides an invaluable opportunity for anyone ambitious to be part of the next generation of Ireland’s food and drink industry leaders. From an industry perspective, Bord Bia’s Talent Academy assures the future talent for the industry as well as providing practical on the ground support to companies now. Since 2009, more than 950 export development assignments have been undertaken by participants in the various programmes, supporting Irish food and drinks businesses to grow and develop in key international markets, with an estimated exports/sales value of over €378 million.

“At Bord Bia, we know the right people in the right places make all the difference. That’s why we strongly encourage anyone with a passion for Irish food and drink and who is seeking a dynamic opportunity to apply – no matter your academic background or where you are in your career.”

Applications are now open and can be made at The closing date for applications for the marketing fellowship is November 27 and programmes commence in mid-spring 2021. The closing date for the international graduate programme is January 29, 2021 and programmes commence in mid-summer 2021.


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