Explore: Food production

Production Manager
Humber VHB

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James S

0:00:02 My name’s James S. I’m the Product Manager at Humber VHB based in West Sussex, Angmering. I used to be in the wine industry. So, the century side to herbs is very much of an area of interest to me. So, I do a lot of product tasting. Tasting of new varieties. Tasting of new sources of, of raw materials. It tends to be quite customer facing so you tend to go out to, to visit customers as well. So, you can do quite a lot of travelling which is something I really enjoy.

00:00:31 I’ve always been very passionate about horticulture. I mean, I suppose it all goes back to when I was three years old. I was – lived in Australia for a couple of years. My dad’s always told me basically we went to the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and I was actually fascinated with the banana plants there just growing and how the food is really – is being produced like that. My dad’s a very keen sort of amateur gardener and I was looking after a little sort of plot of, plot of land at home and I used to sort of grow annuals and I used to sort of design it each year and things like that.

00:01:02 So, I used to have really good fun and so I used to grow sort of courgettes and things like that and tomatoes. So, very much on an amateur scale. When I was at school it was sort of – it was quite difficult really to see horticulture as a subject. There’s so many different sort of areas. I mean, originally my, my dad’s a GP and it’s, it’s very much within the family that a lot of people have gone into the – relatives have gone into medicine. But the more I looked at it I was so sort of passionate about plants and the, the scientific side behind plants as well that I thought that was far more my sort of idea of a wonderful job basically.

00:01:43 And over time through university as well and at the university I studied horticulture and food at Nottingham and it was an ideal starting block really. When I was at university I saw myself going very much into, into wine. I love the whole sort of century sites, all the wonderful flavours, all the passion that the wine growers go to to produce such a quality product.

00:02:10 That led onto the graduate training scheme at Majestic Wines. Was there for a couple of years. It was great fun but after a couple of years my, my partner she, she had graduated with her PhD and we thought it was sort of time to move on really. We looked around at sort of different, different careers within horticulture and that’s where I came across Humber VHB basically. When I joined the company as New Product Development Officer it, it was very much a starting block and then people recognized my passion, my enthusiasm for what I do.

00:02:45 And then from there it’s, it’s, it’s evolved to be now very much the Product Manager. If you have that passion then people notice that enthusiasm. People comment on it and so you start to build a good name for yourself. I’m very, a very keen photographer and I enjoy, I mean, it sort of sounds quite strange but just taking pictures of herbs is actually amazing how many different – sort of all the lighting and things like that, how many, how creative you can really be with, with taking photographs of herbs and, and the wonderful glass house that we have here.

00:03:15 I would really love to have my own company. Doesn’t matter whether it’s small and whether it’s sort of supplying local markets or that sort of thing but you have to get that initial key knowledge behind you, that, that, that appreciation, respect from other people. And then once you’ve, you’ve achieved that then, then you can go out and look at new opportunities.


James S is a Production Manager in a herb growing company.”I do a lot of product tasting. Tasting of new varieties. Tasting of new sources of raw materials… I was so sort of passionate about plants and the scientific side behind plants as well that I thought that was far more my sort of idea of a wonderful job”.

More information about Horticultural trades

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

59%  male 
41%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Horticultural trades workers intensively cultivate vegetables, plants, fruit, shrubs, trees and flowers in greenhouses, market gardens, nurseries and orchards.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. NVQs/SVQs in Horticulture are available at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Professional qualifications from the Royal Horticultural Society are also available.
  • Prepares soil in field, bed or pot by hand or machine;
  • Mixes soil, composts, fertilisers and/or organic matter and spreads fertiliser and manure;
  • Sows seeds and bulbs and transplants seedlings;
  • Propagates plants by taking cuttings and by grafting and budding, applies weed-killer, fungicide and insecticide to control pests and diseases;
  • Prunes and thins trees and shrubs;
  • Supports trees by staking and wiring.
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