Denbigh High School pupils were given an insight into career opportunities within Wales’ food and drink industry during a taster day at a local bakery business.
The event at Henllan Bakery, Denbigh, was organised by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (Wales) with the aim of promoting jobs and careers in food manufacturing, which has a turnover of almost £5 billion in Wales and is growing year on year.
A group of year 9 and year 10 pupils attended the bakery and were given an overview of the business and its products and a tour of the facility. The pupils took part in a variety of tasks and challenges, including creating a new product from scratch.
Fiona Todd, Denbigh High School, accompanied the pupils and praised the staff at Henllan Bakery for providing the students with a ‘stand out’ careers event. She said: “All the pupils are 'buzzing' about the experience. The classroom presentation highlighting the many varied career opportunities within the food and drink industry was extremely enlightening and the pupils now have a new and vastly extended outlook on their career choices and the pathways into them.
“They gained a lot from sharing a hands-on experience and being able to take home the loaves of bread that they had made gave them a real sense of achievement and confidence.
“It is so important for young people to have such valuable work based learning experiences. At Denbigh High we are committed to providing our pupils with every opportunity we can to explore a wide variety of careers and training options.
“I would like to thank Leigh Poxon at Henllan Bakery for hosting the event. He encouraged questions and answered them in a professional and entertaining manner.”
In the new product development exercise, Sandra Skibinska and Daniella Jones won Best for Adults with their Rum and Raisin Cake Slice, Georgina Mulley won Best for Children with her Blueberry and Strawberry Bake, and Lucy Jones and Ben Rowlands won Best for Flavour with their Chicken Tikka and Cheese Pasty Roll. Kieran Miller was the Overall winner for the product that would be easiest to adapt into the current baking scheme at the factory with his Spicy Bread.
James Hicks, Strategic Development Manager (Wales), The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, said: “I would just like to say thank you to the pupils of Denbigh High School for making the day enjoyable and very much worthwhile.
“It was lovely to see how engaged they all were with the programme and the interaction that took place, not only down in the factory, but also on the product quiz and the challenge. Leigh, our ambassador at Henllan Bakery, was very impressed with all the questions they put forward.
“The pupils’ efforts in the challenge to create a new product were excellent. It was great to see them working together and thinking about what was needed to create a new product, together with how the marketing and pricing structure would work.”
Andy Richardson Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board said “I am delighted to see our ambassador program delivering these events. The food and drink industry is such an exciting place to work and there are a whole range of career opportunities available from engineering to product development. Raising awareness of what is on offer and ensuring that we have the skills in Wales to grow our industry is an absolute priority of the board.”