How Do I Get a Bakery Apprenticeship?
In some cases, no formal education will be necessary to get a bakery apprenticeship, though the bakery may prefer candidates who are attending or have attended culinary school. Experience in a kitchen or bakery is definitely a distinct advantage if you want to get an apprenticeship, and at the very least, you can practice baking at home to get some experience with the trade. You can begin preparing for a position during high school by finding a job in a bakery or kitchen, and by studying math and sciences in school.
While in high school, it is a good idea to approach a bakery owner to express your interest in the business. He or she may be willing to give you an apprenticeship even if you have no prior experience, but do not be surprised if you start with jobs such as helping customers or washing dishes. Be willing to work your way up by working hard, being on time, being friendly, and showing that you care about the business. This will also be a good opportunity for you to determine if this is the right career path for you.
Attending a culinary school will prepare you for a more intensive bakery apprenticeship. High-end cake makers and bakers will often seek out students to act as apprentices; if you are enrolled in culinary school, be sure to find out about apprenticeships by visiting a career counseling center on campus, or simply by talking to your academic advisor. Some schools will even hold career fairs, at which you can meet bakers of all kinds. These people may have positions open, and you will be able to find out more about the business and make a good impression on the owners or managers.
If you are not enrolled in culinary school but would still like to secure a bakery apprenticeship, try to get experience in the field first. Working in a kitchen at a restaurant is one good way to get started, as is running your own business. The most important quality you must possess, however, is a passion for baking and learning as much about culinary arts as possible. Sometimes, bakeries will hire inexperienced people if they are passionate and willing to learn; be ready to win them over, however, as you will likely be competing against more qualified applicants.
I just started going to culinary school for baking and pastry arts. I am shy and slightly anxious, but I can control it. I have no prior experience besides baking at home and doing my own research. My first couple of days were tough. I felt outshone by the people with prior experience.
I am trying hard in school because I want this more then anything. I'm so eager to learn and I am so passionate about this. I just wish I had the leader-like attitudes some of my classmates have. I like school so far, but it's not what I expected. I am not the best with math but I'm so willing to work harder. I feel a bit discouraged, like I might be in over my head. I really need some advice. Thank you.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, and what your specialty is, some bakery apprenticeships can be hard to come by and are very competitive.
My daughter is going to culinary school in New York, and this city is full of very talented bakery owners and culinary students.
She has her eye on a few bakery apprenticeships she would love to be involved with. Just like any other profession, if you get in with an excellent bakery apprenticeship, this looks great on your resume.
Most people learn best by doing, and an apprenticeship gives you that opportunity. Where she is at, the competition is very tough, but it also really makes her work hard to excel at what she is doing.
When one of my good friends lost her job, she had no idea what she was going to do. She kept applying for jobs, but nothing seemed to work out.
She always enjoyed baking and makes some of the best cupcakes and cookies I have ever tasted. Someone suggested she start selling some of her baked goods.
It didn't take long for her business to grow, just by word of mouth. She soon outgrew her kitchen and opened up a small bakery in a busy section of town.
She never had anything like a formal baking apprenticeship, but was just very talented and gifted when it comes to baking and being creative.
Now her daughter works with her in the bakery. I guess you could say she is getting her own bakery apprenticeship just by working along side her mom every day.
@andee - I would also add that psychology classes would be helpful as well. Many bakers are not just stuck back in a kitchen all day long, but also have contact with customers on a regular basis.
Knowing how to deal and work with people can go a long ways toward being successful or not.
I really don't enjoy baking, but sure enjoy the efforts of those people who do. I would have never given a thought to taking anything like a bakery apprenticeship.
It makes you wonder if someone like the Cake Boss ever had any formal apprenticeship training. Can you imagine how awesome a bakery apprenticeship program under him would be?
I find it interesting that this article points out the importance of taking science and math classes in school. I also think any type of business class would be helpful.
Many times people think of a bakery apprenticeship as only knowing how to bake, but there is a lot more that goes along with that.
Being familiar with certain areas within the math and science field can really help you when you are developing a new recipe, or knowing how to bake for a certain number of people.
If you are interested in having your own bakery business someday, I think taking business classes would be extremely important. Even if you are an awesome baker, you also need to know how to run a business and work with people.
A good bakery apprenticeship program would touch on all of these aspects to help you be successful.
I got an apprenticeship in a pastry shop while I was in culinary school. Luckily, I had already learned how to make some fairly fancy pastries in class, so I was prepared.
The owner of the pastry shop had advertised in the newspaper that he was looking for fresh talent to give him new ideas. I impressed him with my dark chocolate raspberry delight and my various dessert crepes, and he told me that once I graduated, I could have a full-time job there.
This was right up my alley. I had already discovered that making pastries was what I wanted to focus my career on, and though I eventually had dreams of opening up my own shop, I knew I needed to build up both my bank account and experience.
I was in high school when I got the chance to work as a bakery apprentice. I remember being so excited, because I knew that I had a culinary gift, and I hoped that I finally had a chance to show it off.
Instead, I got stuck cleaning the kitchen and restocking the shelves all day. They also made me answer the phone and take orders.
I figured that they would eventually add more relevant tasks to my duties, but they never did. When I asked the owner if he would consider letting me bake, he laughed and told me that he was running a business, not a school.
@cloudel – That's often the way it works for beginners. I just happened to know someone with a bakery, though, and she let me experiment a bit more than usual during my apprenticeship.
This was no chain. It was a small bakery owned by my friend's family, and they prided themselves on coming up with unique items.
They let me bake my special secret recipe scones, and before long, they were getting requests for large orders of them. They also let me make my orange muffins, which quickly became a hit, as well.
I understand why many bakeries are leery of letting new workers experiment, but they might really be missing out on some good things. I think it's great when they present apprentices with a challenge and let them shine.
I was super shy during college, so I relied heavily on my adviser for help. Without her, I never would have had the courage to seek out a bakery apprenticeship.
She knew that I had been doing very well in school, so she did not hesitate to recommend me to a couple of bakeries. She even called them for me to inquire about open apprenticeships, and one of them told me to come on over.
I started out making simple things, like blueberry muffins. I followed the manager's instructions and came up with my first good batch.
I didn't get to add my own culinary flair to items there, though. They weren't looking for new ideas. They just wanted someone who could help them out with the workload.
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