The Association of Bakery Ingre-dient Manufacturers (abim) is to pledge £10,000 to support the pilot of the National Skills Academy for bakery in 2009.

The Academy is developing industry-wide training courses of baking skills.

Abim chairman Andy Pollard, of Cereform, told British Baker: "We want to support the One Voice initiative, begun at the Baking Industry Exhibition, when all sectors of the industry - craft, wholesale, plant and supermarket - were represented together with ingredients.

"The demise of true bakery schools has contributed to a lack of knowledge; this is a specialised industry and there is a need for wide-ranging skills within it. We need not just work-based training but the opportunity for skills training in different areas of bakery, enabling people to develop and move into differing roles of expertise in the industry.

"Finding young, well-trained individuals is becoming increa-singly hard. We would like to see courses for people to be trained to levels recognisable across the baking industry and of practical use."

Pollard added: "The Asso- ciation looks forward to seeing the National Skills Academy initiative develop further and to experiencing the positive impact it should have within the baking industry."