As a time-served bakery apprentice himself, Managing Director, Andrew is a firm believer in the strong foundation such training delivers. The focus on workplace learning and practical skills, he believes, delivers a workforce with a more rounded set of skills and a broader understanding of the trade in general.
"Our commitment to apprenticeships is all about ensuring we have a workforce that can deliver consistently what is required of our business."
Like many bakery businesses, Christie's often has difficulty recruiting experienced bakers. Modern Apprenticeships enable the business to recruit inexperienced young people to train and develop.
"Across our most experienced bakers, Christies has over 300 years of collective experience and we are all keen to ensure these skills are passed on to the next generation," explained Andrew. "The Modern Apprenticeship programme gives us a framework to do this, with external support from Scottish Bakers and National Food and Drink Training.
Andrew explained that NFDT Training Adviser, Jim McCormack, worked with him to map the qualification and training requirements to the job roles so that the programme was tailored to the precise needs of the business.
Delivering apprentices in the business has brought wider benefits than initially anticipated. The external trainer helped bring ideas and working practices from other bakers into Christie's ensuring a broader view of the skills needed in a modern bakery. The apprentices themselves are transformed through the experience.
"They lift their heads more," explains Andrew, "and take a more active interest in what's going on across the different parts of the bakehouse. We also see them challenging themselves more to build more knowledge and develop better skills."
Others in the workforce also tend to treat those working on their apprenticeships differently and willingly offer support and encouragement to help them build their skills and knowledge.
Christie's apprentices have become great ambassadors for the business, seeing their role as more than just a job. Their knowledge of traditional craft bakery skills ensures consistently high standards and they take genuine responsibility for their actions and performance.
"Apprenticeships are now the main entry route into our business, and we've adapted our recruitment practices to reflect this," says Andrew. "Apprentices are very much hear to stay in Christies."
National Food and Drink Training (NFDT) was established in 2015 as a rebrand of Scottish Bakers training provision. This was a direct result of the strengthening of its portfolio to include lean manufacturing techniques and the delivery of the new Food Manufacturing Excellence (FME) qualifications.
National Food & Drink Training
c/o Scottish Bakers
Unit 2, Halbeath Interchange Business Park
01383 661 555