Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month it’s Pancake Day and we’re exploring the role of a Baker.
Ali Walsh shares her insight into how to get ahead in baking with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.
So what is a Baker?
Bakers make bread, cakes, pastries and other baked goods by hand or with a machine in plant, independent and in-store bakeries.
Industrial or plant bakers make large quantities of baked goods to supply supermarkets and shops, working with industrial ovens and production lines.
Craft bakers make bread by hand and produce a smaller number of goods for shops or delicatessens.
In-store bakers make bread products for the shop using machines.
You will buy and store ingredients and manage stock levels.
You will measure out ingredients and make, shape, roll out and cut dough for a range of baked goods before baking them in the oven, decorating them and packaging them for sale.
You may also be involved in helping to develop recipes for new products.
You will need to ensure that production and working spaces are kept clean and that food safety and hygiene standards are adhered to.
You will normally work a 40-hour week, which may include antisocial hours and weekends.
Depending on the type of bakery you work for, you will be based in a plant, factory, independent bakery or in-store kitchen. In addition, some bakers may work in restaurants or hotels.
Type of work
You may be required to do some lifting and you will need to stand for long periods of time, so a reasonable level of physical fitness is required.
Bakeries can be very dusty, hot and noisy, so may be unsuitable for people with skin conditions, dust allergies or asthma.
You will be provided with protective clothing.
Things to consider
This is a very creative profession, as you will have the opportunity to produce and develop a wide range of baked goods.
Can run your own business
With experience, you could open your own bakery business.
Tools like advanced scheduling mean you can set your own hours and work very flexibly.
Mentally or physically challenging
The work is physically demanding and tiring, and the pay is relatively low.
You will have to work long hours, with early starts and late finishes.
Most people have 5 GCSEs and you will need further professional training
Although no formal qualifications are required, most employers will expect you to have passes at GCSE/National 5. Subjects such as English, maths, science and food technology are useful.
You could take a full-time course in professional bakery at a local college. Other relevant qualifications include the Certificate/Diploma in Proficiency in Baking Industry Skills (Levels 2-3) offered by FDQ, City & Guilds and Pearson Edexcel, the FDQ Higher Diploma in Artisan Baking and Business Skills (Levels 4-5) and the FDQ Award/Certificate in Cake Decoration (Levels 1-3).
You could also enter the profession as an apprentice if you are aged 16 or over. Intermediate and Advanced Baker Apprenticeships are available at Levels 2 and 3 at bakeries throughout the UK.
Starting salaries range from between £13,750 and £17,000 a year. Specialist or supervisor bakers earn between £20,000 and £25,000 a year and Head Bakers can earn up to £40,000 a year.
You may be required to hold qualifications in food safety, such as those offered by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
University options and careers education from the experts.