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A new Scotland Food and Drink Skills Academy (SFDSA) has been launched by the Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance.

The Academy is supported and funded by Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council and will help provide the required link between training provision and employers in the sector.

The SFDSA will not only provide employers with a route to existing training opportunities, but will also develop a new set of qualifications, responding to employer demand. The first of these, the Scottish Fellowship in Food and Drink, which aims to equip trainees with the knowledge required to ensure productivity, profitability and sustainability, was launched earlier this year.

Gerry McBride, food and drink manager for Skills Development Scotland, said: "The food and drink industry is a priority sector for Scotland, with job opportunities in areas including engineering, food science and food technology. The skills academy will offer up-to-date, relevant training in these key areas - and others - to meet the needs of industry and help address skills gaps."

For more about the Scotland Food and Drink Skills Academy visit www.sfd- skillsacademy.co.uk.

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