The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink manufacturing has announced that it has achieved higher than its learner number targets, during its first 12 months of operation. More than 3,500 food and drink employees have received training under the Academy, which has exceeded the first year target of 3,355.“This year we have laid firm foundations upon which to build,” said Justine Fosh, director of the NSA. “Our key objectives are to drive up skills in the industry by boosting the number of food and drink employees undergoing relevant, high-quality training. These figures show that we are already making an impact. Over the next 12 months we aim to double learner numbers to 7,000, by opening up more opportunities for training.”The NSA currently has 24 accredited providers across 11 specialist networks, including bakery, and by summer 2009, its aim is to have 40. “It’s an ambitious, but achievable, target that will cement the NSA’s position as a leader in the drive to boost skills and productivity,” added Fosh.Liverpool Community College, Leeds Thomas Danby, Brooklands College in Surrey and University College Birmingham, have all recently joined the bakery and confectionery network as accredited training providers.