Bakers are food workers who create breads and other baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, pies and pastries. Bakers will be responsible for preparing and measuring ingredients, properly cooking or baking foods, and decorating sweet baked goods.
As a baker, you may work in factories, restaurants, retail stores and small bakeries. You're likely to work with ovens, mixers and dough cutters that could cause injury.
Bakers sometimes work part time, and your schedule could range from early morning to late evening. Weekend or holiday work might also be required.
Many bakery jobs require no specific qualifications. This applies particularly to junior positions in the plant or in-store bakery sectors, where on-the-job training is provided. For more specialised or craft bakery roles, completing a vocational or degree course in a bakery discipline will definitely improve your prospects.
Experience is often equally as important as qualifications, so look for a course with a substantial practical component and/or opportunities for work experience placements.
Extensive training and apprentice work may be necessary for entry level positions and a relevant certificate or an associate's degrees program is often available.
The following skills are important in the baking industry:
• Bakers are rarely well-paid and hours are long so a love of baking and dedication are needed
• Good scratch baking skills (making bread from raw ingredients)
• Teamwork and good communication are essential in any baking job
• The ability to cope (or preferably thrive) under pressure
• Working unsociable hours requires flexibility and stamina
• Good time management is important as tight deadlines are common
• Numeracy skills help with estimating and measuring quantities, weights, baking times, and temperatures
• Creativity, presentation skills, and attention to detail are especially important for craft bakers and pastry chefs
• Excellent customer service and people skills
Employment of bakers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Bakers with years of experience should have the best job opportunities, with employment driven by the growing demand for specialty baked products.
Qualified bakers can earn promotion to bakery supervisor, chargehand or production manager. Formal qualifications may not be required as senior positions are more dependent on demonstrating ability and commitment. It may be necessary to move around the country to gain experience for promotion. It is also possible to work abroad as a baker.
Experienced bakers might choose to work for a flour-mill or bakery equipment company as a sales representative, technical adviser or as a test baker, developing different baking techniques. Some move into teaching baking skills in a college or training centre.
Craft bakers with experience could set up and run their own bakery business.
ARE YOU FIT FOR THE JOB?
If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a baker:
• You are numerically accurate for measuring ingredients, ordering supplies and calculating cooking times
• You are manually skilled and creative for moulding dough and decorating confectionery products
• You will be able to work quickly and meet time deadlines
• You have good organisational skills
• You are aware of safety and hygiene regulations concerning food production and machinery operation
• You are physically fit.
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