This is a thank you letter to ’The Baking Industry’. I am one of a group of students from the National Bakery School, and something amazing happened to us at the Alliance for Bakery Students & Trainees’ conference in June this year. We were studying a degree in baking, but were having difficulty gaining the practical learning on which our future careers depend. At the conference we were introduced to Jean Grieves and Sara Autton, two truly inspirational ladies in the world of baking, to whom we are indebted to for their generosity of spirit, and their commitment to the next generation of bakers coming into the industry.

On hearing of our plight to fill some of the gaps in our practical learning, they managed to get other giants within the baking industry on board. Fermex, supplier of yeasts and improvers for the UK, sponsored us to visit Lesaffre in Lille, France, for a three-day baking course. Jean Grieves, from The Bakery School, an online practical education in bakery, gifted us free membership to her course. The British Society of Baking paid for our train fares to visit three bakeries in Manchester: Slattery’s, Weinholts and Peter Herd of Wilmslow. We were invited for a day’s workshop at Heygates Flour Mill, in Northamptonshire too.

The generosity of the industry towards our learning was immense. We were amazed, inspired, and educated. We felt so humbled, so joyful, and so appreciative. This is what it is like within our industry, and we cannot wait to make our mark and, maybe in the future, some of us will go on to give something back to the students coming into our industry.

I really hope you can share this letter with the readers of British Baker, as I know they will want to hear about how supported we all are, now and in the future.

Jenny Connor, on behalf of the students of The National Bakery School