Bakery colleges report that increasing numbers of students are signing up for courses this year due partly to increased publicity and a raft of bakery-related TV programmes.

University College Birmingham said 80 students had been offered a place on the first-year bakery course compared to last year, when 92 students had enrolled across all three years. Taster days for schools and running the Junior Bakers Academy on Saturday mornings for 14- to 16-year-olds, had helped create interest, along with school visits and open days. Marketing manager Jane Smith said: "Around 250 young people have taken part in the Junior Bakers Academy, many of whom have then chosen to enrol on bakery courses here."

Tameside College said 30 people had already enrolled on its Level 1 bakery course and that it expected a total of 40-45 students. Lecturer Steven Salt said this was 25-30% up on last year: "It is partly due to the publicity and success we’ve had in the bakery department, which has raised our profile. Our part-time Level 1 cake decorating course is full and we’ve got about 60 people on the waiting list."

Dr John Marchant, head of the National Bakery School at London South Bank University, said it had seen an increase in interest in all its courses. "On our Foundation Degree we are taking 42 students for 2011/12, but we also have 11 students on the waiting list. The baking industry has also seen a boom in entrepreneurial spirit, and people are inspired after seeing the success achieved by those setting up their own businesses."

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