Bakery firm Genesis Crafty has set up the first bakery academy in Northern Ireland.

In a bid to “develop the next generation of talented bakers”, Genesis Crafty has established a bakery academy at the company’s bakery in Magherafelt. It aims to recruit its first batch of students over the next few months, so that training can start in September.

Genesis Crafty, run by six baking brothers, is a supplier of morning goods and cakes to UK retailers including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda.

The company has teamed up with the College of Food, Agriculture and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in Loughry, Cookstown, Co Tyrone to develop a relevant curriculum and deliver relevant training programme modules.

The vast majority of the year-long course will be delivered at the bakery in Magherafelt, and will provide successful students with an industry-recognized qualification, an FDQ Level 2 Diploma.

The course will cover all aspects of baking within a successful bakery including hot plate baking, operation of automated machinery, handling ingredients, and health, hygiene & safety requirements.

Brian McElroy, the company’s HR manager, said: “It’s a response to the growing difficulty being experienced in bakery and other sectors in finding qualified bakers, and so we’ve decided to develop our own.

“Our focus is on baking everything we offer our customers in a truly artisanal way, creating the very best taste and texture.”