David Smart argues that it is high time bakeries used internships to give a fresh boost to their businesses and bring along young talent in the industry, to boot

For the bakery employer, employee and student alike, now is the right time to start thinking about getting yourself out there and expanding your horizons, your trade and your knowledge.

In my opinion, internships offer all three the power to gain much-needed experience within a safe and monitored environment, so why aren’t more businesses and bakery students using them?

Businesses within a variety of areas and social communities have a whole range of diverse skill sets, which have been developed to actually survive in business in that area and customer base, whether in the very affluent Cheshire market towns, or the very price-conscious townships of north Manchester or the Merseyside area. Each business in each area has a skill set that needs to be learned, and or shared if we are to develop tomorrow’s youth.

There are bakery businesses desperate to get their hands on some enthusiastic youngsters, even if it for a short time. It’s amazing to see what a sudden boost of raw enthusiasm can do for a business. It’s like a breath of fresh air wafting through the bakery.

There are literally hundreds of bakery students out there, desperate for a bakery business to give them their first step up on the ladder, and who would travel the length and breadth of these fair isles to show you just what they are capable of. All they need is a chance.

There are also bakery schools desperate to connect with local businesses, to further the training of their students. Taking it even further, there are many young bakers in fledgling businesses, or who have just taken over the small family businesses, which need a mentor – even if it is just to help with friendly remote advice from time to time.

Let’s face it: nobody has all the answers. But collectively, we might.

So why don’t we make it happen - this internship thing I keep banging on about? In a very small way, family-friendly bakeries have done it for a while, as they’ve passed their sons or daughters around between each other’s businesses, but wouldn’t even consider sending a talented employee.

Internships within a host business lasts as little or as long as the agreement made: a week, a month or three months – the time doesn’t really matter, as the most important thing is the training.

The Craft Bakers’ Association (CBA), your trade association, is here to bakery businesses, bakery trainees, young professionals and bakery Students to connect with each other, and to help get the most from each other. It’s so simple, so do it!

Here’s what to do

Give Karen Dear, operations manager for the CBA, a ring on 01920 468061 and register your interest in either being an intern or hosting an intern for a short period of time. After a small chat on the phone, we’ll take it from there.

If you are a bakery student and need advice in finding a holiday bakery experience, or even a bakery position from finishing at a bakery college, we have over 600 bakery businesses as members, and each and every one of them is looking for enthusiastic youth. So what are you waiting for? Just give us a call; it’s as easy as that.