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Government gives backing to National Skills Academy for Scotland


Plans to launch a National Skills Academy to boost skills in Scotland’s food and drink industry have received a ringing endorsement from the Scottish government.

Richard Lochhead MSP, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, said such an academy would help the £7.6 billion industry “deliver the skills to succeed” during a speech at the Royal Highland Show this week.

Lochhead was announcing plans for a national policy for food and drink - covering health, sustainability and economic growth. The industry is aiming to increase turnover to £10 billion a year by 2020, with improving the skills of the workforce a key part of the strategy.

A Scottish food and drink academy would be launched as an arm of the UK-wide National Skills Academy (NSA) for Food and Drink Manufacturing. The NSA operates through a network of existing learning providers, which are accredited to deliver training in specialist areas under the NSA banner. As part of the network, providers have access to numerous benefits, including training materials, new course development and information on key market trends.

Discussions are on-going between the NSA and the University of Abertay in Dundee to draw up a business proposal for establishing an academy network for Scotland. If the plans get the go-ahead, Abertay would lead the development of the academy, which would ultimately incorporate the country’s top food and drink training providers.

NSA director Justine Fosh said: “All employers in Scotland’s food and drink industry have a right to access the best training, delivered by exceptional providers in a convenient way to meet their needs. The best way to achieve this is through the creation of a dedicated National Skills Academy for Scotland. This means we can drive consistency of standards, deliver significant cost benefits and yet be flexible in recognising the unique landscape and needs of the country’s employers.

“Establishing a dedicated academy in Scotland is one of our key targets and talks are already at an advanced stage with Abertay. The case for the advantages an academy would bring to Scotland’s food and drink industry has already been well made, as shown by Mr Lochhead’s support for the scheme."

For more information, visit the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing website at


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