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Home > News > May 2006 > 31-May-2006

Employers join forces to back Skills Academy bid

Some of the UK's top food and drink manufacturers have joined forces to back the bid for a new Skills Academy for the sector.

Directors of Nestle, RHM, Warburtons and Young's Bluecrest are part of an employer-led steering committee established by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council.

Their task is to analyse and give the final seal of approval to a business plan for the Skills Academy, which Improve will submit to the government in June. This aims to secure additional funding for the Skills Academy's launch and development.

Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Improve, said: "Fundamental to the success of the Skills Academy, is that it is driven and led by employers. The job of the steering committee is therefore to oversee the business plan so it ensures that the Skills

Academy delivers relevant training that responds to sector needs. The fact that such high-profile employers have joined forces to offer their time and expertise is a real boost for the Skills Academy."

The Skills Academy is scheduled to launch in autumn this year, operated through a network of accredited 'centres of excellence'.

Improve says six centres are planned to open initially - five of them will be based on existing training institutions located across the UK, while the sixth will be on-line, offering opportunities for distance learning, and providing a resource centre for learning aids.

Paul Wilkinson said: "We have received a number of expressions of interest from candidates for the first five physical centres of excellence. These are now being evaluated by technical groups of employers, who will make the final selection of approved centres, and offer advice to those who are unsuccessful, to help them increase their chances of becoming accredited in future.

"The plan is that following the Skills Academy launch, more and more centres will be accredited around the country, building up a wide-reaching network of specialist learning institutions delivering relevant training."

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