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Baking school is cooking up fresh careers

School graduate Ameena Nur, who is in the process of setting up her own bakery.
School graduate Ameena Nur, who is in the process of setting up her own bakery.

A batch of fresh graduates from the Welbeck Estate’s School of Artisan Food, which has been dubbed Hogwarts for bakers, will soon be feeding the increase in demand in the UK for better bread.

The graduates, who hailed from all walks of life, spent ten months studying for a diploma in baking and business skills, and are now well on their way to realising their dream of running their own food firms.

Lorna Rayment, 36, from Hertfordshire, swapped a career in marketing to turn her passion into more than a hobby. Now employed at the Modern Baker in Oxford, she is working towards launching her own bakery business next year.

“The course gave me the skills and confidence to walk into a bakery environment and understand how it works and what I need to do,” said Lorna. “The school was nothing but supportive along the way. It is truly committed to giving the best to its students. To learn at the school is to immerse yourself in the world of artisan food and surround yourself with industry experts.”

Illustrator Ameena Nur, 27, is in the process of setting up her bakery, Jeju’s Bakehouse, in her home town of Maybole, Scotland, with the aim of selling at food markets and to wholesale clients. The diploma gave her a massive injection of self-belief, and she found herself captivated by the possibilities of the bread-making processes.

“Wayne Caddy, our bread tutor, or ‘Daddy Caddy’ as we liked to call him, was an inspiration,” said Ameena. “His endless patience and infectious enthusiasm shone through with each lesson, and I learned more from him in a few months than I did from any tutor over the course of four years at university.

“The business studies were extremely daunting to me because I had no prior experience in the field. But I marvelled at the amount of information I received and managed to retain.”

Former printer Robbie Livingstone, 36, Sheffield, took up the diploma after being made redundant and finding himself at a crossroads. Having always dreamed of opening his own cafe, he is now on his way to creating his own line of baked goods to sell at farmers’ markets and credits the course for giving him the foundations to set up his own business.

“Wayne taught us how to be thinking bakers,” said Robbie. “He always said that if you understand the science behind baking and the processes, then you are able to fix any problems. It really gave me massive inspiration and unlocked my creativity.”

Places remain on a new course to start at the school, which is a not-for-profit charity, on September 25.