A talented group of newly-qualified apprentices at a bakery have been hailed as stars of the future by the UK’s top trainer.
According to Yvonne Evans, who was crowned Assessor of the Year by the Times Educational Supplement, the seven apprentices at the Village Bakery were “truly exceptional”.
As a reward, they were each presented by managing director Robin Jones with a solid gold and silver pin in the shape of a sheaf of corn, specially made by the luxury jewellers Boodles.
The Village Bakery is already looking to recruit a new batch of apprentices to follow in their footsteps with a baker’s dozen of 13 vacancies up for grabs.
Like their predecessors, the new apprentices will be trained at the family firm’s state-of-the art Baking Academy and Innovation Centre on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
The company has a track record of growing their own and most of their bakery managers and supervisors have come through the ranks.
A case in point is Bilel Mejeri, 28, who had no experience of a working in bakery before getting a job there.
Armed with his new qualification, the father-of-two has now been appointed a shift manager.
He said: “I started from scratch but it’s been a pleasure working for the Village Bakery and I’m really thrilled with the progress I have made.
“What I really like about the Village Bakery is the passion everybody has for baking.
“We have huge support when it comes to training – it’s important ingredient like flour and butter.”
It was a message echoed by Tom Bartley, 25, who had various jobs in factories and doing groundwork before joining the Village Bakery.
He said: “The apprenticeship was brilliant and I am delighted to have achieved my qualification.
“In the past two weeks I’ve just been promoted to supervisor so all my effort is bearing fruit.”
“The pin presented to me and the other apprentices by Robin is beautiful and something I will treasure.”
Yvonne Evans, the lead assessor for food manufacturing at Coleg Cambria, said: “I have been working with the newly-qualified apprentices for 12 months and I call them the A Team.
“They’ve put a 100 per cent into the qualification and gained a Level 3 in baking industry skills.
“They are the cream of the crop. They’re dedicated and they’re a really big asset to the business.
“The Village Bakery are very serious about training. They give a lot of support and the facilities here are brilliant.”
The presentation ceremony was a proud moment for Brett Rogers as manager of new product development at the Village Bakery.
He said: “As a company we need to invest in the future and bring the skills through into the workforce.
“It’s important that we can rely on the guys to know how to make the products properly and that they understand the recipes and the function of the ingredients.
“The standards at the Village Bakery are exceptionally high which is why I believe the products we make are the very best.
“I’m fully confident the newly qualified apprentices are going to help build the future of the Village Bakery and bring us on to that next level.”
According to bakery manager Robert Glover, there were great career opportunities for the right people with the right attitude.
He said: “It’s really good to see the apprentices progress and we’ve already
promoted three of them.
“It’s a tremendous honour for me to work for a family business that promotes from within to create the next generation of supervisors and managers.”
In-house trainer Paul Andrew added: “We have a quality first ethos at the Village Bakery and we build that into our training from the very first day. We make the apprentices into real bakers, Village bakers.”
Managing director Robin Jones said: “I am very proud of this latest batch of apprentices who will help ensure the future of the Village Bakery is in safe hands.
“Today has demonstrated yet again that an apprenticeship at the Village Bakery can set you on a career path to greater things.
“We are now looking for our next crop of apprentices because that is the best way for us to succeed and grow as a business.
“The pay is great, the working conditions are excellent, and also you get first class training with some of the best people in the industry. Once you’ve got a trade, you’ve got a trade for life.”
Anybody interested in finding out more about apprenticeships at the Village Bakery should go to the website, www.villagebakery.co.uk/careers