In 2005 the National Federation of Bakery Students Society/Institute of British Bakers (NFBSS/IBB) Alliance staged its 75th Conference.

The Alliance has been successful in supporting college-based bakery students, organising competitions, weekend schools and conferences since the 1920s. However, the bakery training landscape has fundamentally changed with the reduction in college-based training. The Alliance needs to review its strategy to ensure it remains relevant to all bakers in training and their employers.

There is a real opportunity for the Alliance to enable transfer of knowledge from classically trained bakers to the next generation of mostly workplace-based trainees. It can also ensure that college students are being shown current commercial baking practices in preparation for work.

There is also an opportunity to help new bakers develop their personal networks, which in the past were formed at college.

Areas of activity that are being considered include better use of the internet. Much could be done online, such as an interactive members’ area where technical questions and answers can be posted; a products section with photographs, recipes and processes or links to sites where these can be obtained; and links to the websites of training providers, ingredients and equipment manufacturers and major bakeries.

We are also considering more regional demonstrations and workshops to be hosted in bakeries and ingredients companies (where much of the current skill base is to be found). More regional competitions where trainee bakers can test their skills and receive recognition when successful is another option.

The Alliance is an industry-wide organisation and not confined to any one sector. It is also an organisation for individuals, not companies. It is focused on ’serving bakers in training’ and there has never been a time when this was more needed than right now.