UK: New team to drive forward skills academy –

UK: New team to drive forward skills academy Published:  24 February, 2006

THE project team tasked with establishing the new Skills Academy for Food and Drink has been announced by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council.

Experienced project manager Steve Bathie has been brought in to lead the team. As project director, he is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the academy, and will work with Improve’s executive team to ensure that the academy’s products and services meet the needs of sector employers.

The new project team will ensure that by September, six centres of excellence are up and running, focusing initially on advanced manufacturing, which is relevant to all food and drink sub-sectors. Five of the centres will be based on existing training institutions, which will become accredited to deliver relevant, high-quality learning programmes geared to meeting a mixture of regional and UK-wide needs.

The sixth centre of excellence will be on-line, offering opportunities for distance learning, and providing a resource centre for learning aids. It will be accessible through a sophisticated website which will also form a communications hub for the network of centres of excellence.

Jack Matthews, chief executive of Improve, commented: “We are currently assessing the candidates for the first five physical centres of excellence, and discussing ways in which employers can be actively involved in their development. We need to ensure that the skills they deliver meet industry demands.

“As we move forward, more and more centres will be accredited around the country, building up a wide-reaching network of specialist learning institutions delivering relevant training.”

For further information on the development of the skills academy in food and drink, please visit is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.