Improve builds on team

Mark Carroll has been appointed UK operations director of Improve, the food and drink sector skills council.

The newly created position, which sees Carroll take charge of Improve's seven regional operations managers, completes Improve's executive team following the departure of commercial director Paula Widdowson.

Carroll joins Improve after 18 years working for drinks giant Bacardi-Martini, where he led the national field sales team. His experience in the drinks industry stretches back 30 years and includes a stint at Matthew Gloag & Sons, makers of Famous Grouse whisky.

In his new role, Carroll, 51, will take strategic responsibility for increasing Improve's engagement with food and drink manufacturers in all four nations of the UK.

He will coordinate Improve's work in assisting more employers in offering training and skills provision, in forging better links between the industry and the education system and in representing the needs of businesses at the highest level.

"This is an exciting challenge for me, and one I am really looking forward to," he said. "This is a critical time for the UK food and drink industry as we face mounting competition from abroad, so it is vital that we keep investing in skills to create a world-class workforce. I am looking forward to doing my part by making sure employers are getting the right advice and the right access to training and skills provision."

Improve chief executive Jack Matthews said: "Mark will be a real asset to the team. His experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we look to raise our game in engaging employers with the skills agenda."

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