== Improve changes NI apprenticeship ==

A new apprenticeship for Northern Ireland has been endorsed by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council. As in the rest of the UK, separate apprenticeships for bakery, meat and poultry processing, and food and drink manufacture, will be replaced in the province by a single Food Manufacture Apprenticeship, offering the chance to specialise in any of the industry’s sub-sectors.

== Sustainable awards ==

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has started taking applications for its 2008 Community Partnership Awards. The awards, now in their fifth year, provide a showcase for the sector’s widespread involvement in corporate social responsibility. Sir Don Curry, chairman of the government’s Sustainable Farming and Food Implementation Group, is one of the judges and the winners will be announced at a lunch in London on 28 October.

Charity breakfast

An Edwardian Breakfast is taking place at the Tithe Barn, Dorking, on 20 April in aid of the Bakers’ Benevolent Society. Organised by the London and South East Master Bakers, the event begins at 11am and the cost is £120 for two including five courses and service. If you want to attend contact Anthony Kindred on 01883 370305 or a.kindred@ntlworld.com

== VAT a blunder ==

The Treasury is facing a £3.5 million bill because VAT was wrongly imposed on a Marks & Spencer teacake, the European Court of Justice has ruled. Customers paid VAT for 20 years before the authorities accepted the product was a cake, which does not incur VAT.