East Midlands, London, South East England
Posted 1 week ago

JOB TITLE: Food Technologist Graduate (J002597)
COMPANY: Houghton Hams
LOCATION: Northampton
SALARY: £25,000 – £30,000


Houghton Hams is a family-owned business founded on Great Uncle Don’s passion for pigs which he passed onto his eagerly inquisitive nephew Nigel! Roll on 40 years, and the business has grown into a thriving company, still owned, and managed by the family. It offers a wide range of pork, ham and gammon products with sustainability and responsibility at the heart of the organisation. Houghton Hams prides itself on being a business that takes responsibility for its impact on the environment and society, recognising the need for sustainable practices and the long-term benefits they bring.


The Technical Graduate position covers all key aspects of the business from a technical and commercial standpoint. This is a structured two-year programme where you will learn about the basics of the product and the key roles and processes and procedures involved in manufacturing in a factory environment.

This role offers the successful graduate the opportunity to develop skills and competencies in cooked meats, bacon, and gammon with a particular focus on technical and quality within a chilled processing environment with both high risk and low risk functions. They will gain exposure to different aspects of the business of meat and meat products through cross-functional working within the company. The role will include opportunities to build their professional network through customer and supplier interactions. Exposure to site audits and standards will begin from early on. A clear career path will be available for a graduate who wishes to pursue a long-term career with Houghton Hams. As a family run business there are opportunities to get involved and contribute substantively to new and continuous improvement initiatives within all areas of operations.

In tandem with this, you will be enrolled into an externally delivered Discovery ‘Introduction to Business and Customers’ programme. This is an experiential programme that will provide you with a solid understanding of business principles, commerciality, behavioural self-awareness, and the importance of customers throughout all areas of a business.


The Technical Graduate position is at the heart of the business and the successful candidate will be exposed to all key areas of the process as well as our customers. The programme consists of several key responsibilities including the following:

  • Monitor raw material and trend results to ensure specifications are adhered to.
  • Collect and prepare samples and swabs for evaluation.
  • Perform analytical tests as required.
  • Lead organoleptic review of products and escalate findings as relevant.
  • Create, update, and maintain finished product specifications and Quality Attribute Sheets.
  • Participate in continuous improvement projects.
  • Participate and contribute to product development trials and activity, harnessing scientific knowledge commensurate with level and experience.
  • Investigate to root cause, quality, and technical concerns commensurate with the position, contributing to management of action plans to resolve issues.
  • Contribute to staff training and competency evaluation in areas of expertise/ once fully trained.
  • Ensure product and packaging comply with all current UK regulations.
  • To contribute to maintenance of Site Certifications once appropriately trained, by:
    • Review of assigned areas and completing Internal Audits.
    • Work collaboratively to update procedures and processes for the purposes of continuous improvement or to include new requirements.
    • Identify gaps in processes and practices which could compromise site certification.
  • Liaise with relevant personnel to resolve non-conformances or process deviations and effect corrective action following root cause analysis where applicable.


By the end of the first year, the successful candidate is expected to be able to have: –

  • Acquired a good understanding of all functions within the business.
  • Gained a good understanding of meat processing quality and food safety controls.
  • Learnt, understood, and improved the impact of QAs within the factory. 
  • Contributed to a successful unannounced site food safety audit (BRCGS).
  • Developed Technical competencies allowing the takeover of defined Technical Assistant functions e.g., Ensuring the accuracy and compliance of Houghton Hams product specifications and labels, responding to customer food and quality enquiries, Investigation of complaints and incidents to root cause, continuous improvement of quality management procedures and systems.

By the end of the second year, the Technical Graduate is expected: –

  • To have developed full Technical Assistant competencies, able to cover all technical administration tasks.
  • Be contributing substantially to improving all quality and technical operations administratively as well as within the factory.
  • To begin working towards deputising for a Technical Manager.



This role is open to graduates with a sound Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Food Science, Technology, or a related discipline. Candidates must have:-

  • A good understanding of the principles of food safety
  • An appreciation of the meat processing environment or a strong and committed drive to pursue a career in the meat industry.
  • Flexibility and a willingness to learn.
  • Drive, enthusiasm, a ‘can do’ attitude with the ability to think for yourself and take responsibility for your actions from day one.
  • Self-motivated with good time management and excellent organisational skills
  • Strong collaboration and interpersonal skills, with the ability to effectively communicate and influence at all levels with both internal and external stakeholders and customers.
  • Resilient
  • An ability to apply your intelligence in a practical way, with the ability to develop & implement new ideas
  • Consistent in achieving and driving for results


  • Experience of working or academic placement within a chilled food handling environment.
  • Knowledge of Food Safety/Quality Management Systems and Standards (e.g., BRCGS, Red Tractor, Quality Assured, Organic Standards)
  • An understanding of the principles of food labelling / food law.
  • An appreciation of product formulation, specifications, and quality attributes to deliver consistency in products.
  • Basic knowledge of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)/Good Hygiene Practice and control of food contamination.
  • Perception of possible risks to safety, quality, legality, and authenticity of food and approaches to assessing and managing risk in a structured way.

This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to develop and grow within a friendly and team-orientated family business.


£25,000 – £30,000

  • Opportunities to progress within the organisation with a clear career path.
  • Opportunities to get involved and contribute substantively to new and continuous improvement initiatives within all areas of operations.

Learning Opportunities:

•             Enrolment onto Discovery’s Introduction to Business and Customers Programme


By submitting this application, you agree for Discovery to store your details and contact you regarding this application and any future roles we think you’ll be interested in (in line with our Privacy Policy, available on our website). You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing us.

All applications will be processed through Discovery, the retained managing consultants. Due to high volumes of applications, only those successful on application will be contacted for interviews.

Job Features

Job Category

Engineering & Technical, Logistics, Operations & Supply Chain

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