Ingredients supplier, Beacon Foods, has joined forces with a group of academics and food industry professionals with the aim of developing food industry skills in the country.

The new group, Food Industry Skills Strategy Group, will oversee and direct the Food Industry Skills Project.

Other members in the group include leading food producers, Premier Foods and Northern Foods, which seek to provide expert advice on the needs of the industry in order to provide employees and graduates with the skills and experience they need.

The Higher education Funding Council has allocated £250,000 of funding to the project, which will go towards the development and design of a Masters course, and other industry specific short courses. The project also seeks to create a bursary scheme for food science related degrees at Welsh Universities.

The University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), Food Centre Wales and Improve are among a number of higher education institutions and skills groups that will focus on the developing professionals in the industry, specifically through skills delivery.

“This group has pan-Wales representation and we have deliberately chosen companies from across a majority of key sectors, covering various products and processes like dairy, meat and organic produce,” said Helen Taylor, UWIC’s Food Industry Skills co-ordinator and chair of the group.

Linda Lloyd, Beacon Foods’ human resources director, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting initiative and to be associated with a project that increases awareness of the food industry in Wales.”