A woman's hands shaping a ball of dough

Source: Bread Ahead

Artisan bakery Bread Ahead is to launch an academy to help ‘create the next generation of bakers’.

The Bread Ahead Academy is described as a comprehensive six-month baking course to help individuals with a passion for baking turn their dreams into a profession. To mark its launch, the bakery is on the lookout for six aspiring bakers to undertake the programme for free.

Applications for the pilot will open on 16 May and close on 26 May, with the course beginning on 4 September 2024. It is described as a ‘once in a lifetime’ unique opportunity.

The course offers a blend of classroom instruction, covering a detailed syllabus and the fundamental pillars of baking, plus valuable practical production time in the Bread Ahead bakery, allowing students to learn from experienced bakers. It starts with fundamentals – bakery tours and operations, allergen management, fermentation, and gluten development – before tackling many of the elements of bread, viennoiserie, and pastry.

It builds on the 10-plus years that the Bread Ahead team has in delivering bakery workshops through its school. The business said that through consultations with the baking industry and its own experience, it has been able to identify what is missing from college graduates coming through the system. The ‘missing link’ is ‘full multisensory learning’ meaning they ‘lack the skills of bakers’ hands’.

Four glossy brioche buns on a baking tray

Source: Bread Ahead

“The Bread Ahead Academy represents a significant evolution in our teaching journey,” said Bread Ahead founder Matthew Jones.

“We are thrilled to offer this programme to a new generation of bakers, providing them with the necessary tools and experience to go on and excel in the industry.”

Beyond the pilot programme, the bakery intends to charge for future academy placements but also said it was exploring various options to support candidates who may need financial assistance. These options include sponsorship, bursaries, and potentially a Bread Ahead student loan programme as the goal is ‘to ensure that the academy remains accessible to all aspiring bakers’.

The vocational course appeals to a wide range of applicants, it added, including those seeking a career change, high school graduates, or anyone with a keen interest in baking who desires hands-on training and a curriculum led programme in a professional bakery setting. Interested applicants will be able to do so via the Bread Ahead website from 16 May 2024.