The UK has taken a major step towards creating a bakery qualification to suit plant, craft and supermarket needs alike, as the pilot for a new bakery skills aca-demy gears up for launch early next year, subject to funding.The Steering Group fronting the drive for a bakery arm of the National Skills Academy, represented by employers and industry associations, hopes to have a pilot foundation course ready for launch by April 2009, with a September target for full national roll-out.Campden BRI (formerly CCFRA) has been appointed ’network champion designate’ in a co-ordinating role, subject to full pilot start-up funding being raised from industry and stakeholders over the coming weeks.Campden would assume this role, while Leeds Thomas Danby would act as the lead college, contributing to the curriculum’s development and implementing the pilot.The Steering Group will be approaching industry to raise the necessary £100,000 needed to fund the pilot, with a small funding contribution already secured from the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink Manufacturing. After securing this funding, the Steering Group will then be in a position to reveal details of the proposed curri-culum, following an ongoing consultation with plant and craft employers, associations and training providers. Please email your views to: [email protected] foodanddrink.nsacademy.co.uk—-=== In Short ===== Christmas courses ==The National Association of Master Bakers (NA) has teamed up with California Raisins to offer two one-day craft courses for Christmas. The courses will be delivered by NA member Ian Wilson at Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier in Manchester on 5 November and at Bako Western in Cullompton, Devon, on 12 November. Wilson will make Stollen and a Gingerbread House. The courses are free to NA members and cost £50 for non-members. Call Tina Sawyer on 01920 468061 or email [email protected]== Eccles firm fined ==A bakery in Eccles, Lancashire, has been fined £3,000 for using a filthy delivery van and having unhygienic premises. The shop had no soap or drying towels in its hand-washing area when Salford council’s environmental health officers inspected the premises in March. They found that the business had failed to implement a food safety management system.== McCafé expansion ==McDonald’s has announced plans to expand its McCafé coffee houses in Europe from 800 to 1,000 by the end of 2009. The fast food chain has outlets in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Portugal. There are currently no outlets in the UK.== Irish plans on hold? ==Dublin City Council’s attempt to boost the city’s café culture could be scuppered by the economic crisis in Ireland. The Dublin City Development Plan, to regenerate Dublin city centre as a focus for retailers and all activities, will be published for discussion in January and put forward to a full council meeting for approval, but a spokesman for the council said the current economic conditions could change the plans.