Training was on the agenda as the National Association of Master Bakers (NA) held its 120th Annual Conference in Harrogate last weekend.

At its AGM, Shirley Ryder, who has been just been appointed chairman, read out a report which had been written by her predecessor Noel Grout in the week before he died (See British Baker, May 4, pg 13).

On the issue of training, Ryder said: "The board unanimously decided to close the NA’s training arm, which was due to a £17,500 loss together with another £19,000 loss in the 2005 accounts.

"In July 2006 we also gave £13,000 to Improve. There’s no one in the room that could disagree that we couldn’t keep on the in-house training."

Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the NA, said within "weeks, if not days" it would be confirmed if the training arm of the NA would pass over to Poultec, a training provider specialising in the delivering of training and development solutions for businesses throughout the UK.

After the AGM, Chris Dabner, the NA’s health and hygiene officer, gave a presentation on current legislation and Peter Wilbourn spoke about the NA’s Basic Hygiene Certificate. Wilbourn said that the certificate could be taken online and is now available in Polish.

The NA also plans to launch the training in Portuguese. It costs £30.26 per candidate and £28.40 for 10 or more.

He said: "The certificate can be taken anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer, broadband and speakers. It’s an exciting concept that’s easy and efficient."

Members ended the annual conference with a fun night, dressing up as Disney characters.

Mike Holling from Birds of Derby was elected as the 113th president of the NA, taking over from Shirley Ryder at the conference. The NA now has 764 members, down 20 on last year.