The Bakery Industry
There is well over 20,000 people currently working in this Industry at present
and about 40% of these are bakers, the remainder work in retail, distribution
and administration. Quality training is available both on and off the Job leading
to nationally recognised qualifications.
There are about 4,500 small craft bakeries in the UK, each employing typically
between 5 and 25 people, 350 medium sized bakeries (employing between 25
and 100 people) and 150 large plant bakeries (employing more than 100
The term “Master” or ”Craft' is important as it
describes the nature of daily production of
bread and confectionery for sale and
consumption often within one day. It is
therefore, a fast moving and dynamic industry
with good promotion prospects for those who
are determined, enthusiastic and looking for a
Fresh, quality, variety, good value and wholesome products are the hallmarks of
the Craft Baker - They make it - Bake it - and Sell it - the complete business!
Craft Bakeries vary in size from two or three bakers behind or in their own shop,
to large bakeries employing several hundred and delivering by lorry to their own
shops and other customers.
There are 'Hot Bread Shops', 'Village Bakeries',
'In-store Bakeries', 'Traditional Bakeries', 'Factory
based Bakeries', all within the Craft Baking
Its a creative and proud industry, geared up to
meet the ever changing tastes and needs of the
modern consumer, with products from fresh crusty
bread and rolls, to delicious continental pastries, to mouth watering sweet and
savoury pies, to quality celebration cakes for special occasions!
See a craft baker at work on “youtube”:
Page 1 of 5
Updated January 2012
What does it take to become a Baker?
A baker in a craft bakery bakes products to
be sold in a small shop or chain of specialist
shops. As there is less automation, bakers
have more varied work and usually see a
product through from start to finish. They use
some machinery, but also do work by hand.
They may even be trained in confectionery
work, which includes cake decoration. If the
bakery is attached to one shop, they might
also be involved in serving customers,
ordering and doing deliveries.
A baker in a plant bakery might produce many different types of bread and
confectionery on mostly automated machines. They produce large amounts of
baked goods, which are then sold in shops and supermarkets.
A baker who works in an in-store bakery, which is usually part of a supermarket,
may use semi-automatic machinery to produce smaller batches than a plant
bakery. As a result, they are involved in more manual work, such as lifting and
moving of large baking trays. They make fresh bread products to be sold in one
store. They may also need to operate machines that slice, seal and wrap bread.
They might also serve customers.
Opportunities as a fully-qualified baker include working up the promotional
ladder to bakery supervisor, charge hand, or even production manager. This
sort of promotion can be done without formal qualifications as long as
individuals can show that they have the skills and qualities required of those
positions. It may be necessary to move around the country to gain experience.
There are also some opportunities to work abroad as a baker.
It may also be possible to move into related areas of work. Bakers might work
for a flourmill or bakery equipment company as a sales representative, technical
adviser or as a test baker, trying out different baking techniques. It might even
be possible to move into teaching baking skills in a college or training centre.
A craft baker with experience might set up and run their own bakery business.
What type of hours will I have to work?
Most bakers work 35-40 hours a week over five/six days and often
start very early in the morning.
What is it like to work in a bakery?
Bakers work in a busy environment. They may find it hot near the ovens, and
dusty near where the dough and pastry is being formed. Good ventilation and
other control methods reduce the problems from the dust as much as possible.
Decorating tasks may be done in a cooled room.
Bakers occasionally work overtime, especially at special times of the year, such
as Christmas or Easter. Most production workers in a plant bakery work shifts,
Page 2 of 5
Updated January 2012
which can include night shifts and weekends. If they work in an in-store or craft
bakery, they usually work Saturdays and Sundays.
The work is physically demanding and is done standing up. Heavy lifting and
carrying is part of the job, though lifting equipment is often available.
What level of salary and benefits are there?
These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the
job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:
New entrants earn about £12,000.
Experienced bakers can earn about £15,000.
Senior bakers earn between £25 & £35,000
More can be earned through overtime and shift work
What type of skills will I need?
You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this
to enjoy doing practical work
you will need some creative skills, for moulding dough and decorating
to be able to read labels and instructions
to do basic maths for calculating ingredients, measuring ingredients,
ordering supplies and calculating cooking times
to be well organised
to work quickly to meet deadlines
to work well with others
to be flexible and adaptable to be able to deal with problems effectively
to be careful about safety and hygiene, because of the machinery operation
and strict food hygiene rules
to be reasonably physically fit
to do an active, practical job
to be able to use IT
to be able to use machinery.
What Qualifications do I need?
You don’t need any formal qualifications but GCSEs would be useful especially
in English, Maths, Science or Food Technology.
There are no age restrictions but some trainees start at around 16-18 in a Craft
Bakery. You would normally need to be at least 18 to work in a Plant Bakery
because of shift work. If you want to be a supervisor or manager the BTEC
National Diploma in Science (Baking Technology) is a two year full-time course
that can be taken before entering the Career progression:
Page 3 of 5
Updated January 2012
What Training is available to me?
Most people start as trainees and get on the job training
working towards NVQs levels 2 and NVQ Level 3 Food
Careers in plant bakeries normally require you to work towards NVQs levels 1
and 2 in Food Manufacturing.
As basic food hygiene is compulsory for all food handlers, food hygiene and
health and safety qualifications are recommended for all bakery work.
If you are 16-24 then Apprenticeship (NVQ at either Level 2 with fundctional
skills in Communication Level 1 and Application of Number at Level 1) and
Advanced Apprenticeships (NVQ Level 3 with functional skills in Application of
Number at Level 2, Communication at Level 2 and Information &
Communication Technology at Level 1) may be available.
A new qualification is now available for 14-19 year olds which you study at
school, it is called the “14-19 Diploma”. The Diploma is a combination of
existing qualifications and purpose-designed qualifications to make up a two
year course. It is designed to support your next move – whether that's further
study at school or college, work-related training, going on to university or a job
with training. You can study a Diploma at three levels: Foundation, Higher and
The Foundation Diploma is the same as 5 GCSEs at grades D to G
The Higher Diploma is the same as 7 GCSEs at grades A* to C
The Advanced Diploma is the same as 3.5 A levels
The subject you would follow for bakery is “Food and Drink” under
Manufacturing and Product Design. Speak to your careers teacher to find out if
your school will be involved in the Diploma.
You can also find out more information at: http://yp.direct.gov.uk/diplomas/ and
www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u then look under manufacturing and
For those with the time and money to study for a degree, a Foundation Degree
(FdSc) in Baking Technology Management (BTM) was launched in 2007. The
course has been designed to be relevant both to individuals new to the industry
and to those who have been working in the baking industry for some time but
are looking to develop their knowledge and skills. Entry requirements stipulate a
minimum of five GCSE passes at Grade C and one A Level pass.
The FdSC BTM is a 2-year course, which offers at least one work placement.
As well as practical bakery skills, the course equips students with business
knowledge to help them set up their own bakery enterprise. It also provides
individuals with knowledge about the issues affecting the UK baking industry,
including environmental and health and safety concerns.
Page 4 of 5
Updated January 2012
Page 5 of 5
Updated January 2012