The Pontcanna-based bakery is encouraging other businesses to choose apprenticeships as a way of bringing innovative ideas into the workplace.
Brød the Danish Bakery and Coffee Shop, which opened in 2015, was inspired by owner Betina Skovbro’s desire to bring traditional Danish baking to Wales’ capital city. In doing so, it also created a unique opportunity to train the next generation of baking professionals in the craft of Danish baking.
The bakery owner moved to Cardiff from Copenhagen in 1998. Having made her home in the city, she saw an opportunity to bring a taste of Scandinavia to Cardiff. Betina said:
“I instantly fell in love with the city and felt at home straight away, but missed the classic Danish treats I’d grown up with.
“After learning some of the traditional Danish baking techniques from my grandfather while I was growing up in Copenhagen, I knew how beneficial it was to pick up professional skills in the kitchen rather than study them in a classroom. Shortly after opening the bakery, I realised that I’d need to train new staff on-the-job if we were to grow the business. Apprenticeships were a clear choice to help achieve this.
“For us, hiring apprentices is the ideal way to train our staff, as they learn the precise techniques we need at the bakery to make our unique products. We often find that our apprentices learn much quicker on the job than they would in a different learning environment, and it’s wonderful to see them developing and growing so quickly.
In January 2020, Betina will be opening a second site, located in Penarth, creating 15 -18 new positions, doubling its overall baking output.
“Apprenticeships are such a good option for businesses and for learners, and in fact we have only ever had positive experiences with our apprentices. We’re proud that one of our very first apprentice has now developed to such a degree that she is now a full-time baker. Rebekah proved herself to be so passionate, and she’s gained exactly the skills we need. Furthermore, we are able to tap into her experience, to help inform our plans for training future apprentices, where she now plays a vital role in helping develop our next generation of bakers.
“We know she’ll continue to help our business develop, especially with the added pressure of the second site opening, with her fresh ideas and consistent eagerness to improve her techniques.”
Having always been a keen baker, Rebekah Chatfield, 24 from Abertillery, had assumed she would have needed years of expensive training to pursue patisserie as a career.
“I was on the lookout for a role in the catering sector when I saw the apprenticeship at Brød. At first, I dismissed the role as I assumed I didn’t have the right qualifications. As it turned out, I just needed to demonstrate my love for baking and show how hard I was willing to work.”
Rebekah enrolled onto a Level 3 Certificate in Proficiency in Baking Industry Skills in March 2017, which involved working full time in the bakery kitchen and taking quarterly practical exams on-site.
“Over the course of my year-long apprenticeship, I would get into work for 4am to start the baking process. Although learning all the different techniques and styles could be challenging at times – and I was constantly covered in flour – it was so rewarding to be learning something new every day.
“Betina is really encouraging of innovative ideas for the bakery, she even took me on a trip to Copenhagen where I had the opportunity to master traditional recipes first hand. I love trying out new techniques too – I’ve recently introduced a new range of sourdoughs to the bakery which I make every day from scratch.
“Choosing an apprenticeship was the best decision I could have made, as I’m such a hands-on learner and I get to bring my passion to work every day.
“Finding an apprenticeship really changed my perspective on career opportunities and I feel it’s opened so many doors for me to work in an industry I’m genuinely passionate about. I’ve been promoted to Head Baker in just one year, taking on management responsibilities, which goes to show that my apprenticeship and practical training has been the perfect fit.”
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, said:
“Apprenticeships can provide the perfect avenue into work, allow companies to find, nurture and develop staff and ensure our economy is supported by a workforce equipped to tackle the challenges of today and which are ready for the opportunities of tomorrow.
“Apprenticeship Week Wales 2020 celebrates the important role apprenticeships play in the Welsh economy, and should encourage business owners to consider the benefits that apprentices bring.
“With the uncertainty caused by Brexit it’s more important than ever for employers to plan for the future; future-proof their workforces and nurture the talent that exists within Wales.
“We are on track to meet its ambitious commitment to create 100,000 all-age, high-quality apprenticeships by the end of this Assembly.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
For more information about hiring an apprentice visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/skills-and-training-programmes/apprenticeships, Visit Prentisiaethau cymru / Apprenticeships Cymru on Facebook or @apprenticewales on Twitter, and follow the story using the hashtag #AWWales.