Appointments at Improve

David Pickering, chairman of both Business Skills Northwest and the Northwest Food Alliance and Patrick Farnsworth, chairman of the Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and the Humber, have been appointed by Improve

, the sector council for food and drink manufacturing.

It plans to launch a skills academy in September with five centres based at private or public training institutions and on-line .

Their main task is to develop more support from employers for the centres which will combine to form a UK-wide network for the academy's courses.

David Pickering is a non-executive director of Meadow Foods, an independent dairy-processing company, with bases in Cheshire and Yorkshire. A chartered accountant, he is also chairman of Business Link Cheshire and Warrington, and chairman of Cheshire Rural Enterprise Board.

Patrick Farnsworth is is a non-executive director of Cranswick, based at Cranswick Hutton, East Yorkshire. Improve won the right to establish the academy in a competitive bid for government funding, and has secured £5 million of public money to get it up and running.

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