Matthews Cotswold Flour tackles labour shortage with training scheme and calls for bakers to get involved

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The challenge to inspire and recruit the next generation of bakers is widespread and well known. Pic: GettyImages
The challenge to inspire and recruit the next generation of bakers is widespread and well known. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Matthews Cotswold Flour labour shortage Bakery industry Flour Ancient grains regenerative agriculture soil health Bakers home bakers

The UK speciality flour producer has launched a Baker in Training Development Scheme to encourage more people to turn their passion for home baking into a successful career - and wants to hear from bakeries keen in providing work experience.

According to Sophie Carey, recently appointed bakery development manager for Matthews Cotswold Flour, the challenge in finding, recruiting and growing the next generation of bakers is widespread and well known.

“This is a problem across the industry that affects everyone,​ from small businesses right up to the industry giants. I regularly hear feedback from bakeries that they are desperately short of good bakery staff,”​ said Carey.

“We are keen to help in any way that we can to resolve this ongoing challenge for our trade customers and, as part of that commitment, we are delighted to launch our new Baker in Training Development Scheme.”

Golden opportunity

Matthews Cotswold Flour Stoneground Regenerative White Flour

Each year, four applicants will be chosen to be part of the new scheme, which will comprise an introduction to professional baking, along with a full week of work experience. Participants will also receive a collection of vital bakery equipment and materials to help them continue to develop their baking skills.

“We hold a unique position in the industry with strong networks in both the bakery trade and home baking community,”​ said Carey.

“We want to put this to good use and provide this golden opportunity for a group of individuals to learn more about the bakery industry and see if they would like to turn their passion into a professional career.”

Get involved

Both father (Paul) and son (Bertie) are passionate about regen ag
Both father (Paul) and son (Bertie) are passionate about regen ag

The 200-year-old family business has also issued a call out for bakery owners to get involved, by hosting a ‘baker in training’ for their week’s work experience.

“We aim to inspire and support the next generation of professional bakers. We would love to hear from any bakeries keen to provide work experience for the scheme,” ​added Carey.

Matthews Cotswold Flour provides an unrivalled choice of flours for both amateur and professional bakers, producing over 100 varieties of milled flours, from strong white to ancient grain variants made from Italian, Canadian, French and British wheat, either roller milled or stoneground milled, suitable for any classy baked item, from cakes to pastries and breads.

The Chipping Norton-based company is also committed to supporting regenerative agriculture (regen ag),​ a term that refers to a voluntary model of growing food that improves biodiversity and soil organic matter. At its centre are a number of core principles around improving soil fertility, biodiversity, water retention & cleanliness, minimising soil disturbance and enhancing nutrient cycling.

Members of the Cotswold Grain Partnership​ - a coalition of farming families, businesses and professionals - consider its principles to be the future of our farming food system. The Partnership is connected by a shared desire to collaborate, develop new growing opportunities and maximise the UK acreage under ‘regen ag’ practices.

“It’s not just something farmers need to know, but also bakers, consumers and millers alike, and we all have a big part to play,”​ said Bertie Matthews, MD of Matthews Cotswold Flour.

“The elements of the system are not actually new, they’re ancient, in the sense that they rely heavily on nature to make the right decisions as has always been the case.”

“Soil fertility is at the centre of everything we do here at Matthews. Our vision over the next few years is to source 100% of our grain for our Artisan Flours from sustainable, regenerative farming systems.”

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