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Ground-breaking project will bring world-class skills to the dairy industry

Leading UK dairy manufacturers are set to launch a project aimed to provide the sector with world-class skills.

Directors and senior managers for dairy companies, including Dairy Crest, Milk Link and Arla, will join forces to form the European Dairy Project, also known as Project Eden. The scheme, to be launched on 1 September, will work with Improve, the sector skills council, the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Food and Drink Manufacturing, as well as training providers from both the private and public sectors.

The director of the NSA, Justine Fosh, said: "With increasing use of technology in the dairy industry, the number of low-skilled jobs is reducing, while there is an increasing demand for technicians, machine operators, skilled crafts people, and for managers with science and technology skills."

Project Eden will set up group of employers and training advisers to develop new qualifications and learning curricula suitable for accreditation within the dairy industry across Europe. The high-powered steering group also aims to select an accredited training provider following the preparation of criteria and an independent evaluation of all bidders for the position.

Ms Fosh added: "It has been acknowledged for some time that occupational training for the dairy industry in the UK has fallen behind some of our European neighbours. Project Eden is a superb example of UK employers coming together to drive the skills agenda to ensure that learning programmes and qualifications are developed to meet their changing needs.

"As a model of best practice the steering group will be looking in particular at some superb training resources currently available at a college in Denmark."

The NSA was set up in 2007 and is being developed to provide the food and drink industry with the training it requires to boost competitiveness and productivity in the sector. The employer-led organisation has an increasing network of accredited training providers from privately and publicly funded learning centres across England.

The academy will co-ordinate the project’s launch at The Farmers’ Club in Whitehall Court, London. It hopes to define the new learning programme and select a training provider by January 2009.

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