A multi-million national skills academy for food and drink manufacturing is expected to be up and running by September next year.
Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, is putting the finishing touches to an employer-backed bid for £5m worth of government funding to establish the academy. It will be the first national centre of learning dedicated to the food and drink sector.
It is competing against other sector skills councils, including those for retail and construction, for funding.
“In our first year of operation as a sector skills council we have been working very hard to determine the right model for the academy, and we have been canvassing for support among employers,” said Jack Matthews, chief executive of Improve.
“We believe we now have the right blueprint for a highly successful academy, which will be a beacon for excellence, pulling together and building upon the very best of resources and knowledge available to the sector.
The bid is supported by employers and trade associations, such as the Food and Drink Federation, which represents the top 250 companies in the sector.
Major employers in the sector have already expressed interest in becoming sponsors of the academy, including Coca Cola Enterprises, Muller Dairies, Northern Foods, Dairy Crest, and United Biscuits.
The government’s deadline for bids is 9 September, and a decision is expected by 31 October.