Q How did you come to be teaching bakery? A I was approached to do some part-time teaching on a day- release bakery programme in a craft bakery. Here, I learned all aspects of bakery and confectionery and was encouraged to study at the same time. I found that I was good at baking and enjoyed teaching others new skills, so when I got a full-time post, I was thrilled. I’ve taught at Tameside for over 20 years. Over that time, I’ve achieved a stack of qualifications and a BA degree in education and training through the college. I teach a range of subjects, including bakery, confectionery and cake decoration, from entry level up to NVQ Level 3. At the moment, I’m also taking a sign language course, as there are some deaf students on the college programmes. Q What do you like most about your job? A The best part of my job is seeing the students achieve. I love watching them develop and succeed, helping them to realise and reach their potential and sometimes even go beyond what they thought was possible. And I really get satisfaction from students taking part in competitions and study trips. We’ve taken students all over Europe to places such as Belgium, Germany and Spain. Earlier this year, three of our bakery students won a California Raisins trip to Switzerland to the Richemont School. Q Is there anything about your job that you do not like? A Apart from saying goodbye to students at the end of their courses, there are no bad things I can say about my job. It’s my dream job; it would have to be, considering I’ve been doing it for over 20 years! Q Is there anything you would change about the syllabus or the way in which bakery is taught? A The qualifications focus too much on production and not enough on specialist craft skills. I’m worried that bakery training is becoming more about ticking boxes and not about developing skills and people, especially when it’s on- the-job training. There needs to be a move more towards craft training and technical understanding. I would like to see more specialist products aimed at the gift and premium markets, which can be sold in beautiful packaging, giving the customer a real treat for their money. Some specialists are already doing this fantastically well, such as John Slattery, who is a shining example to the trade.This is the way the industry needs to go; bakeries need well-dressed shop assistants who are able to talk about the products and be extremely helpful, so that going into a bakery is a pleasurable experience. Q What does Tameside college do to promote its bakery courses and attract new learners? A As a college, we do many acti-vities, such as open days, school visits and taster days. Children from the local schools also come into the college one day a week for two years. Here they can learn about bakery. These programmes do help young people to take up bakery when they reach college age. Q How do you think employers should attract people into the profession? A There’s a real shortage of bakery employees, it would seem. I think that, nowadays, youngsters have higher aspirations and they don’t see the possibilities open to them in the baking industry. Unfortunately, I think youngsters go into the supermarkets with their parents and see the in-store bakeries. They get the impression that this is what our industry is about. They don’t see that there are many roles within the industry, such as management jobs, research and development or even teaching jobs. I think the industry needs to do more to promote itself and change its image. We need to promote a real sense of value and pride. Q So you think that the profession is on the decline? A No, I just think that it needs to change its route. Consumers are yearning for quality products and are pre-pared to pay for them if the quality is right. Bakeries need to change their role in society and offer something extra - whether that’s through presentation, adding a café area or becoming really specialised. In answer to this, we are looking at introducing a series of Related Vocational Training Courses, which are more specialised. We think they will help re-inject craft back into bakery training. n At a glance l Lorna Jones has taught at Tameside for over 20 years l She has a BA degree in education and training through the college l Jones teaches bakery, confectionery and cake decoration, from entry level up to NVQ Level 3 l After her students make a day’s worth of bakery offerings, Tameside college sells them at its own outlet called Portland Bakery. The money goes back into the college and helps to pay for extra equipment and ingredients l This year, three of her students Sophie Evans, Wayne Farricker and Ben Sutton won a California Raisins competition. Their prize was a trip to the Richemont School in Switzerland ---- === Lorna Jones === Hayley Brown speaks to Tameside College bakery tutor Lorna Jones about the baking industry and the difference she makes to youngsters keen to take up bakery as a profession