Improve, the prospective Food and Drink Sector Skills council, is to challenge existing training practice and the relevance of current qualifications.

The group is to set up a new multi-skills training academy to help develop transferable skills provision to better meet the needs of the food and drink manufacturing industry.

Working under the project name of The Food and Drink Multiskilling Academy (FADMA), establishing the academy will become an immediate priority following Improve's anticipated accreditation in July 2004.

Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Improve FDSSC, said much of the current training and qualifications system is no longer meeting the needs of the majority of food

Wilkinson added: “The Multi-skilling Academy will be one of our core projects over the next twelve months.

“Given the importance of meeting the needs for a multi-functional training facility, we will be investing a lot of time with appropriate stakeholders to design and implement the plan.”

Improve FDSSC will seek funding from the Learning and Skills Council to support the initiative and will be aided by regional development agencies to deliver training and assessment.