A £2.7m dairy training centre has opened in Cheshire with the backing of leading dairy companies.

The Eden International Dairy Academy at Reaseheath College claims to be the most advanced facility of its kind in Europe.

Students work within industry-standard processing facilities for milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter production and can work towards a foundation degree in dairy technology, which Reaseheath has been running since September 2009.

"Virtually all of the big names in the UK dairy industry Arla, First Milk, Dairy Crest, Müller, Robert Wiseman, Milk Link and trade bodies Dairy UK and the Society of Dairy Technology have worked together with us and Reaseheath College on this project," said Justine Fosh, director of skills solutions at the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing.

"They have conceived, funded, equipped and built the training centre, and have already seen the success of the degree they helped develop."

Of the 27 students enrolled on the foundation degree last September, half went on to train as production managers, he added.

Jens Termansen, supply chain development director at Arla, said the academy should be seen as just the start. "It has been achieved by working together and it is important we keep doing so to strive for the future success of the industry," he said.