Lucas Fussnegger, president of the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) and master baker at Jones Village Bakery, discusses the importance of creating opportunities for students in the baking industry
“Our industry is currently facing some major challenges. The impact of Brexit and the pandemic have caused the pricing of raw materials to skyrocket and have led to numerous staff shortages. Here at the ABST, we have set our focus on getting our skilled and trained bakery students into the industry as quickly as possible.
In June, ABST had its first annual conference at Alton Towers since the pandemic. It was so lovely to see attendance back to where it was for many years before Covid. The support from our sponsors and industry professionals has been incredible. It has shown again how closely our industry is working together and how important it is to our new generation of bakers to get the opportunity to get an insight into their future careers.
It didn’t come as much surprise that two-thirds of the students attending are up for the challenge of opening their own bakeries.
For these students, and those looking to join existing firms, ABST is here to assist, advise and help create new relationships. It is now more important then ever to bring the skills and talent into our trade. With the help of our sponsors, we are creating opportunities that make it easier for the students to find their way into bakeries.
My aim is to try to increase the funding available to offer more support to make the transition from student baker to future employee much more efficient
One example of this is our work with the Craft Bakers Association (CBA). Together we have created a fund which offers financial support to bakery students and trainees who are offered low-paid or unpaid work experience, as well as help with the expenses incurred through attending industry conferences and events.
The opportunities this creates for our future bakers is invaluable, particularly as we learned that some students wouldn’t put themselves forward for opportunities because of the expenses involved. As of July, the fund has helped support three students, which we hope will be the first of many.
Working closely with colleges also allows us to extract the most from our sponsorship funding. With our focus on the annual conference 2023, we are aiming to make the networking session even more valuable to our students and sponsors.
As the new president of ABST, my aim is to try to increase the funding available, to be able to offer even more support and guidance to make the transition from student baker to future employee much more efficient.
The knowledge we have within the ABST committee allows us to put together the most important factors for our students and their start into a fantastic industry.”