from Jack Matthews, chief executive, Improve sector skills council

Sir; Food and drink employers will benefit from new measures to boost skills announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown.

This is great news. Free further education up to level 3, which includes A level or vocational equivalent, will now be available to people up to the age of 25. This new measure, alongside adult learning grants, will give greater opportunities to employees, helping to fill crucial skills gaps that currently hinder productivity and profitability.

Mr Brown's proposals to recruit 3,000 extra science teachers and introduce after-school science clubs will also benefit the sector. Taking steps to encourage an interest in science at a young age will create a pool of high-quality future recruits.

We applaud the news that further education colleges will work more closely with employers to ensure courses deliver appropriate skills.

At Improve, we have already consulted with employers over apprenticeship frameworks and foundation degrees to be offered in partnership with further education colleges. We are also working with employers to develop training courses for the first skills academy in food and drink in September.