Supermarket chains are attrac-ting record numbers of young bakers to their apprenticeship schemes.

While many craft bakers struggle to find recruits, multiple retailers are sourcing enthusiastic would-be bakers from in-store and outside. Both Sainsbury’s and Morrisons report that the category is a growth area, which they have no trouble staffing.

Sainsbury’s recruited 200 apprentices this year, 104 of them in bakery, and half from inside the company, while Morrisons now has around 188. Andy Clegg, Morrisons’ bakery trading manager, said: "We’ve got more bak- ery apprentices going through than we’ve ever had. We’re marketing the apprentice scheme more and there’s an emphasis on getting skills through. There has been an interest from people outside as well as inside the firm."

Sainsbury’s Apprentice Baker programme has not found it difficult to attract people, said Gary Tovy, qualifications and skills manager. "They get four qualifications and are on normal Sains- bury’s pay and benefits."

Sainsbury’s aims to have an apprentice in every main store by 2010, which will mean recruiting another 350 people onto the scheme - in either meat, fish or bakery. The retailer is now asses-sing how many trainee bakers it will need. However, Tovy said: "There will be a heavy reliance on bakery, as it is a key growth area. They learn craft skills, bread production, confectionery and cakes. They are sent on three workshops, learn skills such as dough production and how to become team leaders and managers."


=== Students take Thai trip ===

A group of bakery students from Leeds Thomas Danby College (LTD) recently visited Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the college’s continuing association with educational providers and bakery food manufacturers abroad. Key aims of the trip were to look at the Young Entrepreneur Scheme run by Kasetsart University, to compare it with LTD product development on the BTEC National Diploma in Food Manufacturing Science (Baking Technology), as well as looking at the current market for bakery products in Thailand.