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Making its debut at this year’s Baking Industry Awards, the Employer of the Year category recognises businesses that strive to create a positive working environment for staff, allowing them the chance to excel in their roles and, in turn, help improve the reputation and performance of the company.


Winner: Two Magpies Bakery

This bakery business, which operates a chain of 10 shops and cafes across East Anglia, had judges taking note of its “very clear vision and direction”. Futureproofing of the business includes a new 11,000 sq ft central bakery in the Suffolk village of Walpole, which recently began production of baked goods to serve its expanding estate.

Two Magpies displayed substantial investment in its employees, providing them with in-house training and actively promoting interdepartmental learning. Team members are said to be given the freedom to express their ideas including for new product development, with the company looking to increase the current ratio of salaried staff from 85% up to 100%.

Judges reported that key values had been driven into business, with good staff retention and a high degree of knowledge demonstrated by all. “With around 200 employees, this is a great attribute,” commented one judge.

Communication is also an active part of the Two Magpies’ philosophy – managers have monthly catch ups with each team member in their department to discuss their professional development and aspirations within the company, as well as address any potential challenges.


The Bakery Tobermory

Source: The Bakery Tobermory

Finalist: The Bakery Tobermory

“Good cakes, good craic” is a familiar saying at The Bakery Tobermory on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. The relaxed but supportive atmosphere starts with owner Claire Noble, who firmly believes “we are a family in the bakery”. Given the small island community, all members of the bake staff are taught on the job with outside expertise brought in for additional training when necessary. The bakery is also in the process of taking on an apprentice and works with the local school to offer work experience.

To help balance work and home life, Noble started a breakfast club for employee’s children and offers flexibility with shifts around childcare and other commitments. Staff also get free bread and eggs, as well as wholesale prices on anything else they’d like to take home.

Claire’s staff were overflowing with compliments for their leader, with one saying she is a “fabulous employer, completely dedicated to her work but also the staff”.

Claire clearly has a great team, said the judges, who thoroughly enjoyed learning more about The Bakery Tobermory as her passion for the business and the community shone through.


The Danish Bakery (2100x1400)

Source: The Danish Bakery

Finalist: The Danish Bakery

The ethos behind The Danish Bakery, trading as Brød, was to bring authentic Danish baked goods to the market. These baked goods, combined with its coffee shops, helped owner Betina Skovbro and team build a unique identity in the heart of Cardiff.

Staff receive several benefits including access to a private medical scheme, a 50% discount on purchases, and will soon enjoy employee bonuses as well. Emphasis is also placed on team building, so every Saturday after the freshly baked breads and pastries have gone out for delivery, the bakers host a breakfast club. Each baker takes turns providing breakfast for their teammates.

The Danish Bakery’s apprenticeship programme is well established – with seven apprentices trained to date. It also helped combat the issue of recruitment and offered apprentices a recognised qualification. Notably, Betina and the bakery’s head of training are training to become apprenticeship assessors to help uphold standards in the wider industry. This was commended by the judges as the bakery seeks to upskill its own staff but also the industry as a whole.

One employee said Brød was a “supportive employer” where “every effort was made to make absolutely anyone feel welcome”, with an emphasis placed on personal training and development at every level of the organisation.