City & Guilds has formally accredited Sainsbury’s six Food Colleges and Bakery College.

At least 20,000 Sainsbury’s staff will attend the colleges this year, making it the largest ever accreditation in the history of City & Guilds.

Gwyn Burr, Sainsbury’s customer service and colleague director, said: “Sainsbury’s is absolutely committed to giving all of our colleagues the opportunity to develop and learn new skills, despite the challenging climate.

“This accreditation from City & Guilds is in recognition of the high standards we have set at the colleges and we can already see how our customers are benefiting from the improved service and quality from our newly trained counter colleagues.”

The colleges offer training to staff working on the meat, fish, deli, hot food counters, bakery and the café.

The six Food Colleges opened following the successful launch of Sainsbury’s Bakery College in May 2010.

The Bakery College, at Whitworths Mill near Northampton, has halved the amount of time it takes for Sainsbury’s bakers to learn the necessary skills, with some of them completing a Level Two qualification.

Last year Sainsbury’s became the first food retailer to be awarded Gold accreditation by Investors in People.

>>Raising the bar