The first group of staff have passed a new training programme at Cheshire-based Roberts Bakery.

The ‘Roberts Bakery Baking Excellence Programme’ was developed by the baker in collaboration with Tameside College, which hosted the course.

Long-serving bakery staff Matt Winnington, John Walsh, Geoff Cliff, Trevor Reynolds, Sarah Steele and Paul Hulse, who have between them chalked up nearly 90 years at the bakery, were the first graduates.

They were presented with their certificates by Steve Salt, master baker and course tutor at Tameside College.

Salt developed the course alongside Neil Burgess, bakery consultant at Roberts Bakery.

The course included a blend of practical and theoretical elements, with modules on the role of ingredients within baking, proving and baking, conditioners in baking, and quality control and fault finding. The students also visited the Rank Hovis mill in Trafford Park, Manchester, as part of their course.

Andy McCormack, training manager at Roberts Bakery, said: “We will now be rolling this out to other members of Roberts Bakery staff so that we can benefit from an improved pool of shared knowledge and even better quality in all areas of our business.”          

Six more staff will be starting the next course in September and a further two groups in 2014, with a total of 30 staff due to be trained by the end of 2014.

Family business Roberts Bakery, based in Northwich, Cheshire, makes 80 million loaves a year and supplies bread to convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the region.