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Bakers, Chefs & Catering Jobs

 
Bakers make products such as loaves, French bread, rolls, croissants, buns, pastries, cakes and biscuits. The work includes:

weighing out and measuring ingredients
mixing, moulding and shaping dough
setting the dough to rise
decorating, slicing and wrapping products.
Bakers may work in automated plant bakeries, in-store bakeries (usually in supermarkets), or craft bakeries.

They work 39 hours a week or more, over five days, often including Saturdays. The working environment is busy, and can be hot.

Salaries generally range from around �12,000 to �18,000, although top bakers can earn more.

Bakers need:

to be able to read labels and instructions
basic maths ability
to work well with others
reasonable physical fitness
to enjoy doing practical work
an interest in cookery and food.
About 145,000 people work in the bakery industry. Opportunities exist around the UK and there are shortages of suitable applicants. Skilled craft bakers are in great demand as the public's appetite for 'real bread' grows.

It is possible to train for bakery work without formal qualifications, but GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English, maths and science or food technology are useful. Young people can enter the bakery industry through Apprenticeships (Skillseekers in Scotland), or after taking a full-time or part-time course. To start as an adult, previous experience of working with food is useful.

Some people start as operators and receive basic on-the-job training. To advance to more skilled work, it is important to have further training. Trainees often work towards NVQs/SVQs, assessed at work or studying part time at college. Various other qualifications are also available.

It is possible to progress to team leader or supervisor. Some move to related areas of work, such as teaching baking skills. Craft bakers with experience can set up and run their own bakery businesses.

What is the work like?
Bakers make products such as loaves, French bread, rolls, croissants, buns, pastries, cakes and biscuits.

Baking involves:

weighing out and measuring ingredients
mixing and dividing the dough, moulding it and shaping it into tins
setting the dough to rise
baking different kinds of bread and pastry products
finishing the products by decorating, slicing and wrapping them.
Many of these processes are now carried out by machines on automated production lines, but in craft bakeries some of the work is still done by hand.

Bakers work in three main settings:

Plant bakeries - large-scale automated factories which bake sliced and wrapped bread and related products.
In-store bakeries, usually in supermarkets. In-store bakeries produce fresh bread to be sold in the store, using semi-automated processes. Bakers may be involved in manual work, such as lifting and moving baking trays.
Craft bakeries, baking products to be sold in a small shop or chain of specialist shops. The work is more varied than in plant or in-store bakeries, and usually involves seeing a product through from start to finish. Craft bakers use machinery but also do some of their work by hand. They may be trained in flour confectionery work, which includes cake decoration.
Starting salaries are around �12,000 a year.

Hours and environment
Bakers work 39 hours a week or more, over five days. In plant bakeries they usually work shifts, which can include night shifts and weekends. In an in-store or craft bakery they usually work Saturdays.

Traditionally, bakers used to start very early in the morning. Some still do, but with modern technology this is not always necessary.

There is occasionally some overtime, particularly at special times of the year such as Christmas or Easter.

Bakers work in a busy environment. It can be hot, but there is normally good ventilation.

The work is physically demanding. Heavy lifting and carrying is part of the job, though lifting equipment is often available.

Bakers wear protective clothing, including hats (and hairnets if appropriate).

Bakery work may not be suitable for people with asthma, an allergy to dust, or some skin conditions.

Salary and other benefits
These figures are only a guide, as actual rates of pay may vary, depending on the employer and where people live.

Starting salaries for adults are around �12,000 a year.
Skilled bakers can earn about �13,000 to �16,000, and a shift foreman/woman or team leader can earn around �18,000.
Higher salaries are possible - top bakers can earn �30,000 to �40,000.
Skills and personal qualities
Bakers need:

to be able to read labels and instructions
basic maths ability for measuring ingredients, ordering supplies and calculating cooking times
to be well organised
to work well with others
to be flexible and adaptable
to be able to deal with problems effectively
to be careful about safety and hygiene
reasonable physical fitness - this is an active, practical job
(in craft bakeries) creative skills, for moulding dough and decorating confectionery products
to be able to use IT
to be able to use machinery.
Interests
It helps to:

have an interest in cookery and food
enjoy doing practical work.
Getting in
There are currently about 145,000 people working in the bakery industry. Opportunities exist around the UK and there are shortages of suitable applicants. Skilled craft bakers are in great demand, as the public's appetite for 'real bread' grows.

The number of in-store bakeries is growing, while employment in plant bakeries is declining.

Some specialist bakers and flour confectioners work in large hotels and restaurants.

Jobs may be advertised in the local press and in the specialist journals, British Baker and Bake and Take.

Entry for young people

It is possible to train for bakery work without any formal qualifications, but GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English, maths and science or food technology are useful.

Young people can enter the bakery industry and work towards NVQs/SVQs through Apprenticeships (Skillseekers in Scotland).

It is also possible to enter the industry after taking a full-time or part-time course. A useful course guide, 'Student Bakery Course Finder', is available on the Worshipful Company of Bakers' website at www.bakers.co.uk .

Key Stage 4 students may be able to develop skills and knowledge for the Bakery NVQ Level 1 or City & Guilds Bakery Progression Award Level 2, through work-related learning provided by a further education college, training provider, employer or a combination of these.

For jobs involving night shift work, entrants may need to be aged 18 or over.

Apprenticeships which may be available in England are Young Apprenticeships, Pre-Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships. To find out which one is most appropriate log onto www.apprenticeships.org.uk or contact your local Connexions Partnership.

It is important to bear in mind that pay rates for Apprenticeships do vary from area to area and between industry sectors.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For further information contact Careers Scotland www.careers-scotland.org.uk , Careers Wales www.careerswales.com ; and for Northern Ireland contact COIU www.delni.gov.uk .

Entry for adults

It is possible to start this work as an adult. Previous experience of working with food is useful.

Training
Some people start as operators and receive basic on-the-job training. To advance to more skilled work, it is important to have further training.

NVQs/SVQs in Bakery, which are available at Levels 1 to 3, can be gained through assessment in the workplace or by attending a part-time college course. For plant bakery work there are also NVQs/SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacturing Operations at Levels 1, 2 and 3.

The following qualifications are also available:

BTEC National Certificate in Food Science & Manufacturing (with baking options)
SQA National Certificate in Craft Bakery Production and National Diploma in Baking Technology and Process Management
SQA Higher National Certificates in Baking and Confectionery Production, Baking Technology, Baking Supervisory Management and Craft Bakery Production.
For flour confectioners, the following Awarding Body Consortium (ABC) qualifications are available:

Level 2 Certificate for Pastry Cooks and Patissiers
Level 3 Diploma for Pastry Cooks and Pattissiers
Certificates in Cake Decoration at Levels 1 to 3
Certificates in Wired Sugar Flowers at Levels 1 and 2.
There are also HNC/HND courses and degrees in food science, food technology and process management, which are relevant to the baking industry.

Getting on
It is possible to work up the promotion ladder to foreman/woman, team leader, supervisor and production manager.

Some bakers move into related areas of work, such as:

working for a flour mill or bakery equipment company as a sales representative, technical adviser or test baker, trying out different baking techniques
teaching baking skills in a college or training centre
quality control
food science and nutrition.
Craft bakers with experience can set up and run their own bakery businesses.

There are some opportunities for bakers to work abroad.

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Tags: Bakers , Catering Baker , Pastry Chef
 


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