The Achievement in Bakery Training Award is open to individuals and companies that have either initiated or been involved in successful training programmes. The award is once again sponsored by Rich Products, a leading provider of premium, indulgent frozen and ambient bakery products. Entrants do not have to be a customer of Rich’s to apply.

"We are committed to growing our business by training our staff and this award aims to highlight and reward industry best practice in this area," says George Thomopoulos, MD of Rich Products. "If you are a firm that has set up individual training programmes, supported school and college curriculums to develop the skills of future bakers or been involved personally and put that training to good use, we want to hear from you. We are particularly interested in entrants that can demonstrate how training has positively affected the business they work in."

Training allows passionate students to reach higher academic achievement and undergo personal development, says Thomopoulos, which is good for the individuals themselves and also the companies they work for.

"Training opens doors and gives passionate individuals the opportunity to excel in what is one of the oldest and most rewarding professions," he says. "It is also a primary way to achieve excellence, develop creative thinking and innovative ideas that lead to industry growth and combat the challenges we face."

As a family business, Rich’s takes pride in its people and recognises the need to invest heavily in training programmes in order to develop the business and make it a continuing success, says Thomopoulos.

"We place the highest importance and investment in programmes to ensure all our bakers are qualified and highly skilled in producing the most premium quality products. The company believes in implementing training programmes to help retain and develop staff, as well as ensuring we are attractive to prospective employees. This is especially important in an industry suffering from a skills shortage."

He adds: "Any individual or size of company, making any type of baked product, is eligible, so get entering! In the meantime, we very much look forward to receiving the entries and announcing the winner on Tuesday 8 September."


=== Jane Hatton, a lecturer at Brooklands College, Surrey, won The Achievement in Bakery Training Award in 2008. ===

"I was thrilled just to be a finalist, so it was a lovely surprise to actually win. It was a great evening and it was so nice to meet all the people I have got to know in the industry over the years in one place. The college put out a press release about me winning the award and it went on the website and in our newsletter.

"We also highlighted the success at our open day and it’s definitely helped raise the profile of the college among students and the industry. The award has also encouraged enquiries from bakery companies who are interested in using us to train their workers on-site, which has been really encouraging."