Julius Caesar said it best more than 2,000 years ago: "For lack of training, they lacked knowledge. For lack of knowledge, they lacked confidence. For lack of confidence, they lacked victory."
Making an investment in the continuing education of employees is one of the most important decisions a manager or executive can make. This especially holds true in the baking industry, where high turnover rates and unreliable labor plague high-volume bakeries throughout the country.
The problem is simple: There is a shortage of trained bakers. And trained bakers are a key component to the continued growth and prosperity of the industry. In the United States, there are about 600 bread and cake manufacturing facilities. However, a leading training organization in the baking industry says that the number of U.S. citizens earning baking diplomas and certifications averages less than 60 per year. Only about half of these graduates go into plant operations, and a well-run facility should have at least three graduates on the job, the training institution says.
The benefits of training and continuing education are undeniable. One major company reports a savings of $4 million per year due to waste reduction in plants managed by graduates of a leading baking industry training organization. Another major company reported reducing mechanical downtime from 13.5% to 3.5% due to efforts of graduates. In addition to reducing waste and downtime, trained employees also develop new products, control quality, increase efficiency and reduce employee turnover. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 70% of Fortune 500 companies cite lack of trained employees as their No. 1 barrier to sustaining growth.
When selecting a training organization for your employees, it is important to find an institution that has the qualifications to impart the knowledge that is essential for success in the baking industry. Firstly, the institution’s instructors should be bakers who understand the challenges of producing high quality products at high speeds. This ensures that the instructors continue to learn and share what they learn to help all course participants. Second, the curriculum must be science-based, so it is not dependent upon a single celebrity chef or book author. This also ensures that gained knowledge is put to use regardless of the changing tastes of the customer. Thirdly, the institution must put their theories to practice at a state-of-the-art pilot plant. This ensures that training is focused on practical application that is used immediately.
One training institution offers bakers the opportunity to obtain a diploma through either an 18-week resident course in Baking Science and Technology (BST) or an 11-week resident course in Maintenance Engineering. These courses are offered twice a year. To be accepted into the BST course, the student must have at least two years of experience in the baking industry, a college degree in Food Science or related field, or a certification from a reputable culinary school.
Because not everyone is able to attend the resident courses, the training institution also offers career path programs, which are designed to allow training in five to six one-week increments in conjunction with the Science of Baking correspondence course. These courses may be taken in any order, and the student does not have to finish the correspondence course before attending any of the one-week courses in the career path program. This program was designed to allow employees to train key staff in small steps and avoid the long absences and replacement issues associated with the resident courses.
Problem Solver Quick Tip
PricewaterhouseCoopers says that 70% of Fortune 500 companies cite lack of trained employees as their No. 1 barrier to sustaining growth.