Over the past few years, I have made it my business to try to understand the educational and training requirements of the baking industry and, in some way, do my bit to ensure that any future education and training developments are relevant to the industry.

That said, I firmly believe that even if the correct framework is in place, the quality of the final qualification will only ever be as good as the actual course material and how well it is delivered.

Why? Because, in my opinion, education and training are not just about skill and knowledge transfer. They are about inspiring people. With inspiration comes the will and wish to learn and, if you’re willing to learn, then the skill and knowledge transfer becomes that much easier.

Up and down the country there are people who dedicate themselves to educating and training the future of our industry. They do this to the best of their ability and within the constraints of either academic bureaucracy within the college environment, or, training budgets and time constraints within the business environment. But one thing unites the majority: they are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject and, as a result, they inspire their learners to learn.

Unfortunately, a good number of these people are approaching retirement, or have now retired. As I write this, to my knowledge at least four have retired and, with them, their knowledge, skills and ability to inspire have gone from the industry. I just wonder where their replacements will come from.

l See also Open Letter, page13