The Scottish Association of Master Bakers (SAMB) is training bakers in places as far afield as Cornwall, London and Northern Ireland after being recognised by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink Manufacturing as the main craft bakery training body.

The organisation offers Food Manufacture National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) for staff aged over 19 at Levels 2 and 3 and the Food and Drink Manufacture Modern Apprenticeship programme to all young people aged 16 to 18. These on-the-job craft-based training programmes have been developed by the SAMB and are fully funded by the Skills Funding Agency across England, Scotland and NI. Employers do not have to pay for employees to take part in the 12-month courses beyond releasing their staff during the on-site training visit.

Twenty-five firms in England have already signed up to the schemes in locations such as Cornwall, Devon, Essex, London, the Midlands and Yorkshire, while in Scotland the SAMB is now working with 75 businesses.

"We were approved by the Food and Drink Skills Academy earlier this year and are already working with bakeries outside Scotland, but we hope a lot more will get in touch as English and NI bakeries find out about us," said David Allison training manager, England. "Both the adult and apprenticeship recruitment service and training programmes offer a real opportunity for the sector to further develop the skills of its people. In the current economic climate access to free training may become a thing of the past, so please take the opportunity while it is available."

At this year’s Baking Industry Awards, Macphie of Glenbervie employee Kyle Hendry won the the Trainee Baker of the Year category, sponsored by Improve, after working with the SAMB training arm.