I would like to express support for both the opinion expressed in Viewpoint and by John Gillespie’s essay - "We need to speak with a united voice or be ignored altogether" - in the 29 June edition of British Baker.
In addition to technical, legal and industry promotion issues, one of the main topics on which we need to unite is training, where fundamental changes are taking place at national level.
At the heart of government’s policy on ’Skills for Business’ are 25 sector skills councils. One of these is Improve, which represents food manufacturing and processing. Improve is made up of 35 food manufacturing sectors, one of which is bakery. If we then divide bakery into the numerous trade or sector associations, what influence can any one of those associations expect to have? However collectively, bakery, as one of the largest employers in food manufacturing, can have an influence on future training provision, including relevant skills training or qualifications. Indeed one of the stated ’goals’ of the sector skills councils is to "improve learning supply, including apprenticeships, higher education and national occupational standards".
Some may argue that the bakery sector would be better served by going it alone. But for me, this is the equivalent to bricklayers saying they would be better off not being part of the construction industry.
It is imperative that we find a mechanism for the baking industry to "speak with one voice", whether it is through a strengthened UK BICC or a new co-ordinating council. When we do so, one of the first tasks will be to establish, under the Food & Drink Academy Provider Network, an Academy Centre that would both provide and co-ordinate other centres that offer relevant training. Seven such Academy Centres have already been established by other industry sectors, including dairy at Rossheath in Cheshire and fish processing at Grimsby. Let me start the debate on this topic by suggesting the CCFRA as the Academy Centre for Baking.
Paul Morrow, MD, British Bakels