New Apprenticeship to safeguard the future of Cornish baking

Cornish bakers have partnered with a leading College to tackle concerns over an ageing workforce in professional baking and create an Apprenticeship that is the first of its kind.

Apprentices will train in a new state-of-the-art bakery kitchen that will be installed at Penwith College.

Prima Bakeries and Warrens Bakery are two big names that have been working in partnership with Truro and Penwith College over recent months to look at attracting young people into the profession. Discussions have resulted in design of the first and only Bakery Apprenticeship Standard in the South West and the College is making a significant investment to create a new, state-of-the-art bakery kitchen at Penwith College.

Apprenticeship ‘Standards’ have been introduced nationally since May 2017 and replace traditional ‘Framework’ courses. Course content is designed with employers to ensure Apprentices leave college with the skills needed in the workplace.

The first group of learners will start the 18-24 month Craft Baker (Level 2) Apprenticeship Standard in October 2018. The programme is designed to appeal to anyone with a passion for traditional baking and will teach those with no previous experience to produce bread, cakes and pastries for some of the biggest names in Cornwall.

The College and its employers believe that the entry level nature of this Apprenticeship will attract young people to the industry. Other kitchen based Apprenticeships at the College are very popular and with Marketing Week citing that The Great British Bake Off was one of Channel 4’s most popular shows for 16-34 year olds last year, there is certainly a level of interest from the younger generation.

Prima Bakeries have already successfully recruited Jason Bennellick, the first Apprentice that will study the new programme. Mark Norton, Managing Director at Prima commented: “it is absolutely essential that new blood is developed for the Bakery industry. We believe this is best done by being trained by specialist and experienced bakery professionals in a dedicated environment. We are confident that the College’s bakery team understand our business needs and the standards we expect our Apprentices to meet.”

Warrens Bakery is currently recruiting for the programme via www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/apprenticeshipjobs, Managing Director Mark Fletcher commented: “The Apprenticeship is suitable for those with a passion for traditional craft baking, making a wide range of breads and baked goods using traditional and mechanical methods.

Warrens Bakery employee approximately 600 employees across the South West and we are really excited to offer two Baker Apprenticeship positions. We have a passion for baking and want this tradition to stay alive.”

Tutor Dave Williams, a craft baker and confectioner with over forty years of experience in the industry will be delivering the programme in October. Dave said; “it has been a pleasure to talk with some of Cornwall’s most successful bakeries to design a programme that will deliver the skills they need in the workplace. Installation of the new specialist bakery kitchen at Penwith College has already started and I’d like to thank to thank Prima Bakeries, Philps Bakery and Warrens Bakery for their generous help with some of the kit.

Tom Moran, Customer Development Manager at Truro and Penwith College commented: “Truro and Penwith College is delighted to announce that we have launched the first Bakery Apprenticeship Standard available in the South West it is fantastic to again lead on the implementation of such a programme.”

“This couldn’t have been achieved without the response we have had from Cornish employers, who clearly feel that bringing new people into the industry will invigorate their business and the industry as a whole, not only helping to bridge skills gaps but also the sustainability of Cornwall’s baking heritage for years to come.”

The College and its employers will soon start work on a Level three Apprenticeship that will offer the first group of students a progression route and employers an option to continue training their bakers to an advanced level.

The College is continuing to consult with employers across Cornwall to tailor the programme to their business needs. If you would like to discuss your options with the College, contact the Apprenticeship team on 01872 242711 or email apprenticeships@truro-penwith.ac.uk. The Apprenticeship team is also available to advise interested learners via the same contact details.

The team behind the new Apprenticeship at Truro and Penwith College with Jason Bennellick and Mark Norton from Prima Bakeries (centre) and Mark Fletcher from Warrens Bakery (far right)