Job as a baker
David Smith works on an automated production line which turns out thousands of savoury biscuits every hour. He is a team member at a factory in North London.
What kind of biscuits do you manufacture?
I work on the snacks line mainly ensuring the dough is machined to the right specification before being cut into biscuits and transferred to the oven for baking. From time to time, I make minor adjustments to the machinery and clean the guards on the machine.
What kind of bakery equipment do you use?
Making biscuits in a plant bakery is automated and very different from craft bakery. Obviously, dough has to be mixed and we have ovens to bake the biscuits, but because we deal with such large quantities very little is done by hand. I have to wear hair nets, ear plugs and gloves. This is so the manufacturing environment is sterile and free from contamination.
What kind of training is provided?
I have completed courses in food hygiene and manual handling, as well as on-line training from one of the advanced team members.
What hours do you work?
I work day shifts, late shifts and night shifts on a three week rotation.
What skills and qualities are needed for this working as a baker?
To be able to think quickly, solve problems and liaise well with the other departments. Communication skills are vital.
What are your career goals?
I would like to advance my career here, learning more about the factory and the other departments.
David's route to his job as a baker
- On-the-job training.
- Food hygiene and manual handling courses.
David's baker tips
- Gain good numeracy and communication skills.
- Always work as a team.
- Make sure you are motivated enough to see a job through to the end, even when it isn't going well.
Baker related jobs
- Brewery worker
- Cake decorator
- Food processing operative
- Meat process worker
Salary of a baker
- An apprentice usually starts on around £10,000.
- Senior bakers earn up to £20,000 annually.
How to become a baker
- It is possible to train for bakery work without having formal qualifications, but GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English, maths and science or food technology are useful.
- Most start by training on the job or join an Apprenticeship scheme, working towards NVQ/SVQ Levels 1, 2 and 3 in Bakery.
- For plant bakery work there are also NVQs/SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacturing Operations at Levels 1, 2 and 3.
- Some colleges offer food manufacturing and technology courses (full time, part time and via distance learning) such as BTEC qualifications in Food Science and Manufacturing Technology.
- The work might not be suitable for people with asthma, dust allergies, or certain skin conditions.
- As bakers may have to do shift work, entrants might have to be at least 18 to work in some plant bakeries.
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