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As the first generation of 11 graduates recently finished training at the PuratosBakerySchool in São Paolo, the specialist gives APB&B a guided tour of their schools in Brazil and India.

By Catalina Mihu

The students aged 17 to 21 recently received their “Professional Qualification for Bakery, Confectionery and Chocolate,” and are the first graduates of the program at the Puratos Bakery School in Brazil. They each completed 828 hours of training over two years, and received the necessary theoretical knowledge in the areas of baking, patisserie, and chocolate. They all also followed practical training in the pilot plants and laboratories of Senai Horácio Augusto da Silveira.

Alexander Decoster, general manager of Puratos Brazil, attended the graduation ceremony held on January 26.

Investing in education

The school in São Paolo is the second education project undertaken by Puratos. The company launched the first education project in India, where Puratos operates since 2008. “At that time, to get a team up and running, we started investigating the market for competent technical advisors and demonstrators.

The role of the demonstrator is key at Puratos, as they are constantly liaising with our customers to help them make even better bakery, patisserie and chocolate-finished goods. They must have the skills and the passion, striving for continuous improvement and inspiration,” Puratos told us.

It was difficult to find such profiles in India, because the schooling system there does not provide a structured curriculum for bakery, patisserie or chocolate.

India: the first school

The first batch of students at the non-profit Puratos Sanskaar Foundation School graduated on July 12, 2016, in Navi Mumbai. Moving from simple breads to complex desserts over a two-year intensive period, 16 students completed the first-generation course. Puratos India also announced that 100% of these students are now placed in top bakeries such as Sassy Spoon, Boulangier, Oven Fresh, Indulge and Cakes & Coffee. Three students were also selected to work at Puratos India.

Dhiren Kanwar, MD - India, area director – South Asia, Puratos Food Ingredients India Pvt. Ltd said, “India’s changing tastes have meant an explosion within the bakery space. This requirement has meant a huge demand for trained bakery and patisserie technicians. By training this first batch of 17- and 18-year-olds in the art of bakery, patisserie and chocolate, Puratos India is also hoping to fill the skilled labor shortage that is faced by the bakery industry within India.”

Brazil: the second project in education

Puratos Brazil had started a similar project with a school in Guarulhos where its specialists had taught classes on topics including nutrition, marketing, best practices in food, in 2006. As they wanted to do more here, Puratos partnered with an NGO to benefit from their experience in managing such a program. “This allows both parties to stick [to] and concentrate on what they respectively do best,” explained Puratos.

A look inside the schools

The bakery schools can welcome up to 50 students. The premises are fully equipped and offer laboratories and classrooms with all the necessary bakery utensils. “Our teachers benefit from our global network of technical advisors, gathering 472 colleagues from 68 countries. This provides them with new techniques, trends and allows them to exchange ideas on best practice to stimulate and bring their creativity to the next level.

The students are also regularly involved in more specialized training and technical workshops with our internal experts, from lamination to baking with sourdough,” Puratos tells us.

The main focus of the courses is on bakery, patisserie and chocolate, structured so as to offer an intensive yet adapted learning curve to the students, while acknowledging that many of them are new to the world of bakery. “We start by explaining the equipment, ingredient interaction and commodities’ role before moving to more technical and practical lessons. These help our students face the market reality, such as decoration with vegetable cream, chocolate tempering, frozen technology concepts, sourdough baking and much more.”

The curriculum also offers English classes as well as Portuguese text interpretation, in Brazil. Digital communication and how to display and present finished goods are also taught, as well as exercises on topics such as people management, sales management and worldwide trends through the company’s Taste Tomorrow platform.

The teachers at the bakery schools were first selected based on their experience in the bakery and patisserie industry. They then completed intensive training in Belgium.

Graduation and benefits

The students receive a certificate when they complete the two-year study cycle. They have access to Puratos’ network of customers and local subsidiaries across the world, granting them access to interesting career opportunities.

The graduates’ employment status speaks of the program’s success: 95% of students work for either Puratos or one of its clients, after the first generations graduated from each school. The remaining 5% have decided to pursue their studies in hotel management, Puratos tells us. The second classes will graduate in summer 2017, among which 80% have already been offered a job.

 You can read more in our print magazine Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit (Spring 2017)!

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