Government plans for modernising national training organisations were outlined to delegates at the second annual conference of the Food and Drink Federation's national training organisation. Its chief executive Tom Evans said that in April the NTOs will be converted to sector skills councils' and at the same time cut from a total of about 70 to 22. Those involved in the food industry, including the Federation's NTO and those of sector specialists for meat, dairy, bakery and seafish, will have to amalgamate to form a single skills council. Work has already begun on joint projects, Evans said. The main objectives of national training organisations are to encourage staff training and development and to provide careers information and a benchmarking service. Representatives of the FDF's organisation went on to present its latest research on the state of training in the food and drink manufacturing industry. Keynote speakers at the conference last month were from Tesco and Coca-Cola Enterprises. More than 40 delegates gathered to hear Kim Birnie, learning director for Tesco, summarising Tesco's strategies for managing key changes in the retail sector. Her address was followed by a presentation from Coca-Cola Enterprises training manager Dick Charlton. He highlighted CCE's programmes for the development of leadership skills in its managers. In the afternoon, delegates formed workshops covering recruitment, retention, operations and management issues. {{PEOPLE MOVES }}