Bakers are being urged to make training a priority or face losing out on valuable grants, after changes to government funding kick in this spring. The Learning and Skills Council, which currently handles funding for adult skills-based education in England, is being disbanded at the end of March to make way for new bodies the Chief Executive of Skills Funding and The Young People’s Learning Agency.

The Scottish Association of Master Bakers, which is now England’s leading trainer in on-the-job baking, said it had received "positive signs" that funding would continue under the new regimes. However, SAMB head of skills training Arthur Rayer warned that more needed to be done to build on the 104 learners currently on its books taking NVQ Levels 2 and 3 tuition in craft bakery, process bakery, retail and service, and distribution.

"We still need more bakers to get more funding," said Rayer. "If we don’t get more applications, then training contracts could start to shrink, which wouldn’t benefit anyone."