Improve, the Food and Drink Sector Skills Council, has been officially launched and has announced the identity of its chief executive.

The organisation received approval from Ivan Lewis, the parliamentary under secretary for skills and vocational education.

It has been set up to help recruit, retain, develop and identify a skilled workforce for the food and drink sector.

The major subsectors covered by the body include meat, fish, bakery, dairy, frozen and chilled foods, including ice cream, all other food manufacturing, soft and alcoholic drinks.

Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Improve, said: “The creation of Improve will help current employers develop a better skilled workforce and make the industry attractive to those considering it as a career option.”

Jack Matthews, former director of the Sector Skills Development Agency, has been named as chief executive. He said: “Improve is set to be instrumental in driving skills and productivity across the food and drink industry. As such its development will benefit the whole employer base of the sector.”