The baking industry could benefit from new government plans to make over £10m of funding available to businesses, with the launch of a trial to develop Apprenticeship Expan-sion Programmes.

The trials will be delivered through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and funding of £10m will be available over the next three years, to large businesses and groups of small and medium-sized businesses, which currently run high-quality apprenticeships. It is hoped this will increase the number of apprenticeship vacancies available.

"Given the current economic slowdown, it is important that companies continue training their staff to maintain produc- tivity and a competitive edge," said David Way, national director of apprenticeships.

Interested bakeries should contact the LSC on tel: 024 7682 3668 or visit []. The deadline for expressions of interest is 16 January, 2009.