Scholarship helps student gain extra baking experience and qualifications

21 March 2017

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It was while I was on placement that I realised I have a love for baking. I wasn’t the most confident baker before I started at Village Bakery."


Amy Wickham with fellow Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust scholar Clarrie Hocknell
Amy Wickham with fellow Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust scholar Clarrie Hocknell

Harper Adams University BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Well-being student Amy Wickham discovered her love of baking when she worked at the Village Bakery in Wrexham for her placement year. Here she helped develop a product which was launched onto a well-known supermarket’s selves.

To help her build-up further experience in the area, she has received a Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust Scholarship.

The 23 year-old from Ormskirk, Lancashire, said: “The scholarship has already opened up a number of opportunities for me. I’ve joined the Craft Bakers Association (CBA) as an Associate Member. Through the CBA I’ve had the opportunity to visit other bakeries. In November, I was invited to London on a bakery study tour, and the financial support from the scholarship paid for my accommodation and travel.

“I’ve also recently been awarded my hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) Level 3, so I’m already ticking off the things I wanted to achieve with the scholarship. It’ll also help fund the purchase of some books for my dissertation and final year studies.

“It was while I was on placement that I realised I have a love for baking. I wasn’t the most confident baker before I started at Village Bakery. I think it’s something that found me while I was there as I was exposed to the industry and people who were passionate about it every day.

“I started in the technical department of the bakery making sure all the products produced were of a consistently high quality. After six months I moved into new product development where I was able to hone my practical baking skills. I was worried initially that I might not be a successful baker, but I had a great colleague in the office and he gave me the confidence to try out different things.

“While working at the bakery, I discovered I had a more specific food obsession; bread. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and the science behind such an ancient craft. During my placement I also got the chance to visit the Puratos Centre of Bread Flavour in Belgium, which was an amazing experience.

“I discovered that getting a new product to launch, requires a lot of hard work and enthusiasm. While I was at the bakery I worked on a new wholemeal bread product, which was launched into a well-known supermarket. It was a real ‘wow’ moment. There had been setbacks along the way but seeing it on the shelves made it all worthwhile.

“Placement has definitely given me and my coursemates a different outlook on things. We’re now more aware of the bigger picture. It’s great, because when you’re in lecturers and having a discussion, you can relate back to your own experiences. We’re now much more engaged in our studies.

“I’m delighted to have been offered a graduate role in new product development back at the Village Bakery, which has lifted a weight off my shoulders for my final year. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to apply some of the scientific elements of my course when developing new products, to help improve peoples’ diets, not necessarily through supplements, but by ensuring that they get a more wholesome product. I'm looking forward to progressing my career in the baking industry over the next few years and I'm thrilled to have received this award.”

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