When I was at school, bakery and catering were never subjects promoted to young people. On the other hand, office jobs were, and there was more of a push to become an academic. We need to go back in time and offer the opportunity to gain skills used in practical jobs, such as bakery.
My dad was a baker, but living with that at home is very different to working in an in-store bakery environment. I study at Tameside College and have an apprenticeship at Morrisons, which means I am getting money for the work I do, I am being trained and there will be a job here when I finish the course. There is always someone to help - both at college and work - and I can ask any questions I like.
My training involves a week’s theory at college, followed by about five weeks at the job, where I am assessed on a list of tasks. I’ll spend another week at the course and so on. I’m now going on to do another course in patisserie.
Whether college training and on-the-job training in the bakery are suitable depends on the individual. For me, the theory and also background knowledge to practical work is useful and interesting. We get to understand the ’science bit’ behind what we do on a daily basis. But it very much depends on each person.
Since I won the Student Baker of the Year award, Tameside college has decided to do a case study on me to inspire other bakery students. I study alongside 60 other Morrisons apprentices from different outlets, but I’m the only student at my branch.
We didn’t visit other bakeries, which I would have liked - maybe because my course is part of the Morrisons apprenticeship, I’m not sure if other students get the chance. I would also like to visit ingredients suppliers to see how contents are put together before they come to the bakery.
Most staff are male and it can be a little off-putting. When interviewed, the fact that I would need to lift heavy trays and work long hours was brought up. That can discourage young women going into the profession. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female - bakery is a great business.
In the future, I hope to progress to a management position, my overall aim is to become a bakery tutor so I can help and encourage young people like myself to develop within the baking industry.
What would I say? I like the satisfaction of producing a quality product bought by customers every day. You see the end result, make a difference and every day is different. n