Zeelandia is working with colleges to give bakers an insight into the industry.

The programme to support bakery colleges nationally, which started in September, will see the ingredients manufacturer working with Newcastle College; Tameside College, Manchester; Sheffield College; Neath Port Talbot College, Wales; Brooklands College; City of Bristol College; and Barking & Dagenham College.

Nick Harrison, Zeelandia’s technical sales manager, hosted a four hour workshop at the Newcastle College’s Lifestyle Academy on 27 September, working with students to create Danish pastries and Devonshire splits.

Teaching included instructing the students on weighing out ingredients, mixing, kneading by hand and moulding the pastries into shape.

A relatively new specialism available to professional cookery students at the college, the bakery course provides skills and expertise required to work within a professional kitchen or bakery.

According to Zeelandia, working closely with employers ensures that students gain not only practical skills, but valuable industry knowledge.

Nigel Grant, bakery lecturer, said: “The students thoroughly enjoyed the demonstrations and it was great for them to understand how bakery ingredients play a role within industry. We look forward to working with Zeelandia in the future. It is these links with employers that help our students to really understand how the sector operates and prepares them for employment.”

Holly Coke, a bakery student, commented: “I enjoyed the demonstration from Nick and it was interesting to learn more about the types of ingredients that are available to make life easier for a baker.”

The scheme itself started six months ago when Zeelandia began working with Brooklands College in Weybridge, carrying out a ‘Science behind Baking’ masterclass.

Each masterclass will be tailored to the requirements of each bakery college, and dates are being finalised for the next.

Harrison said: “The industry needs craftsmen and women with good brains - people who are analytical, disciplined and hungry to learn more about ingredients and processes.  But it’s our job to help improve skill levels and to stimulate interest among bright young people. It’s up to us to show talented students just what fantastic opportunities there are in the bakery and bakery ingredient industry.”