Improve strengthens development team

The UK food and drinks sector skills council has recruited a skills project manager in the hope of strengthening its development team.

Improve - one of 25 sector skills councils established by the government to take the lead in driving up skills in the workplace - has appointed Helen King to the newly created role.

One of her responsibilities will be to co-ordinate the development of a new Diploma for Manufacturing and Product Design, a pioneering qualification for 14 to 19-year-olds, which is set to launch in 2009. King will also represent Improve on the project team developing the Diploma in Environmental and Land-based Studies, which will also go live in 2009.

In the past, King has worked for both an awarding body and training providers. She worked as a product manager at City & Guilds for eight years and spent two years in New Zealand as a as programme co-ordinator in the Continuing Education department at Canterbury University. She has also worked as a training officer for three learning providers in the UK, co-ordinating youth training schemes and providing some literacy tuition.

In addition to the appointment of King, Improve has promoted existing employee Amanda Clark to the position of standards and qualifications leader, which will see her take responsibility for the development of the sector qualifications strategy. Clark will also oversee the development of National Occupational Standards, which define the required skills and knowledge needed for a role, and which form the basis of new qualifications.

Clark joined Improve almost two years ago, as skills development advisor. She had previously spent six years working at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in London, as part of a team that designed and developed training programmes. This was her first job after graduating with a degree in food and nutrition from the University of Manchester.

Jack Matthews, chief executive of Improve, said: "The appointment of Helen and Amanda's promotion highlight the fact that the development team is going from strength to strength. The work of the team is vital in engaging with potential future recruits and in ensuring that food and drink training delivers skills that respond to industry needs. I wish Helen and Amanda every success in their new roles."

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