Craft & Food Trades
Bakers prepare, bake and finish bread, pastry, cake and confectionery products.
Plant bakers operate machines to produce goods on a large scale. Craft bakery work involves more 'hands on' activities and often a wider range of production in smaller batches.
Bakers prepare, bake and finish a range of bread, pastries, cakes and savouries. They need to know how to make many types of bread and confectionery and have to keep up to date with any new varieties.
The work can be divided into two types: plant bakery and craft bakery.
Plant bakery is mass production - automated work that often goes on for 24 hours a day. Most bread products are made in this way. The main product of plant bakeries is bread, pre-packed cakes and pastries.
In plant bakeries, operators and assistants control various types of machinery that prepare dough and then pass it through different processes. These processes include moulding, proving (rising the dough), baking, cooling, slicing and wrapping.
Craft bakeries tend to be smaller and produce a greater variety of goods, but in smaller quantities. There is much more scope for creative work such as icing or decorating celebration cakes.
Bakers have to follow hygiene, health, and safety regulations when handling food and dealing with equipment. Bakers wear protective clothing - usually a white coat or apron and a hat. Long hair has to be tied back and suitable shoes must be worn.
Personal Qualities and Skills
- A quick and neat worker, as you will often work to tight deadlines.
- Good with your hands.
- Reasonably fit, as the work can involve a lot of standing and also some heavy lifting.
- Enjoy dealing with the public.
- Feel comfortable dealing with cash and other types of payment.
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of bakers
Employers are plant and craft bakeries, and supermarket in-store bakeries. There are some opportunities with hotels and catering organisations, but most work for commercial bakeries.
Opportunities for bakers occur in bakeries in towns and cities throughout the UK. However, the sector is concentrated in the North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and Scotland.
Experienced bakers can become self-employed.
You don't usually need any qualifications to become a baker however
Some people get into this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Food Manufacture. To apply for an apprenticeship you will need to either have some relevant work experience or show you can cope with a level 2 course.
Educational qualifications are not always required for entry to this work. However, GCSEs in Home Economics, and Design and Technology (Food Technology) are useful. It is often important to show an interest in cooking and home economics.