One of the smartest things I have ever done was signing up to do a 4 year bakers apprenticeship when I was 16. The baking industry has been wonderful to me, but I believe that if I had signed up to be a carpenter or a butcher or a chef…whatever trade…I am sure that industry would have also been wonderful, as long as I was willing to work hard, get into my trade, boots and all, and had a great attitude.
Today we often find it hard to attract young people to take on an apprenticeship with the right attitude, and a willingness to learn and work hard – which is a real pity. It is a very creative and rewarding industry with so many opportunities available, and there are baking jobs all over the world, with the chance of becoming a master baker, confectioner or a pastry chef! Baking hours are usually friendlier compared to being in the restaurant game (no split shifts etc) which I believe is a big plus.
We are always on the lookout for people with experience, along with a great attitude, to join our team and it can be real tough at times to find them.
As business owners we need to be training more apprentices, otherwise our industry – whatever it may be – won’t be able to keep up with the demand. I believe we all have to make training a priority and push harder to encourage young people to take up an apprenticeship because if we don’t invest in training, we will all pay a big price in the long run. Take the baking industry, for example. If we don’t have enough apprentices, we would eventually be taken over by big plant bakeries, where you would need to be an engineer rather than a baker… Think about it. There wouldn’t be much choice available in what ends up on your table. That’s scary.
I know for me in the baking industry, by having well trained bakers we ensure that we will have a consistently high standard and fresh product that we can deliver to our customers every day with confidence. And that is what running a successful business is all about.
Therefore I believe there is an urgent need to raise the profile of trades in all industries that train apprentices. To do this, I believe, we have to talk up our industry at all times and tell everyone how great it is and what opportunities there are. Trade apprentices get paid while they learn, and there usually are good government incentives for employers to take on apprentices, so it is a win/win for everyone!
And listen to this: I just recently read an article in the Herald Sun (Melbourne) reporting that after 10 years of extensive research they found that people who do a trade are far happier than university graduates!
We have to take pride in our chosen industry and make sure we communicate that pride. By doing that we will hopefully attract more young people with the right attitude and a willingness to have a go!
(And always remember one thing: we do live in the land of opportunity – there are so many opportunities out there when you go looking.)