Exclusive Profile: Bake an Advanced Diploma in Artisan Breadmaking

In October, a new generation of bakers was celebrated at a ceremony to mark their graduation from the Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking at The School of Artisan Food.

The six-month diploma is designed to equip students with both the practical and business skills needed to launch a career in artisan baking.

The course at The School of Artisan Food is created to give people the opportunity to get back in touch with “real, handmade food”, the representatives of the School explained for World Bakers. These courses suit all ages and skill levels, from existing practitioners who wish to further develop their knowledge or people who are interested in starting an artisan food enterprise to amateurs and absolute beginners.

The School of Artisan Food offers the UK’s first Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking, accredited by Food Industry Qualifications (FDQ), a specialist awarding body, which pioneers the most innovative qualifications in the food industry. This six-month, full-time, intensive course is the equivalent of a foundation degree level qualification. The Advanced Diploma combines practical hands-on training in bread making, patisserie and viennoiserie with contextual study that focuses on the food landscape and on every aspect of how to establish a successful food business start-up.

Selection is based on application and interview, with a flexible entry guideline of 5 GCSE’s at grade C or above, including Maths and English if possible. A-Levels or NVQs (level 3+), GNVQs and BTEC qualifications are desirable, but not essential as students’ life skills and experience are taken into consideration. Entry requirements are flexible if candidates show a commitment to succeed and have relevant skills and experience.

Foundation Degree in Artisan Food Production

This course, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, is delivered by professional artisan food specialists at The School of Artisan Food – based on the Welbeck Estate – alongside food technology specialists at the university. This two-year foundation degree will equip students with the skills needed to work in the artisan food industry. From developing practical expertise and producing a range of food products, to setting up an artisan food business. Students will also study the functionality of high-end food ingredients, and practical skills such as bread-making, patisserie and viennoiserie.

The School’s founder Alison Swan Parente said: “The School of Artisan Food is a small beacon of good practice in education about healthy, sustainable food. Our students are not only eminently employable, but also take into the workplace fine skills, a great work ethic, environmental awareness and open, 

entrepreneurial minds.”

The Teachers 

The teaching staff are experienced artisan producers and practitioners in the UK, Europe and beyond.

The School regularly brings in guest tutors who are experts in their field.

Head of Baking – Wayne Caddy (pictured: right) joined the Elite Club of Artisanal Bakery after being presented with the Elite de la Boulangerie Internationale award in 2018. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Caddy is keen on passing his expertise to a new generation of artisan bakers.


He has baked all over the world, sharing his knowledge of all things bread and developing a wide range of new products. Along with Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, a fellow baking tutor at the School, Caddy has represented the UK at the baking Coupe du Monde and regularly judges at competitions.

The History

The School of Artisan Food was founded in 2009 by Alison Swan Parente, when she realized she could not find a good artisan bakers for the establishment she had set up with two wood-fired ovens in the old fire station on Welbeck Estate.

Asked about the concept behind the School, the representatives mentioned the understanding and mastering artisan processes, such as bread making, which produces a great sense of achievement and wonderful new skills. “Artisan producers should understand and respect the raw materials with which they work, they should know where these materials come from and what is particularly good about them,” they say.

The Course for Breadmaking

The School’s industry links give students access to high-quality work placements in some of the artisan bakeries in the UK and overseas. These placements give students valuable insight into what it is like to work in the artisan baking industry, as well as an unrivalled opportunity to learn from and forge long lasting relationships with artisan bakers.

The School has regular short courses ranging from one or two days covering lots of baking skills, intensive three and four day courses. The 6-month Diploma runs twice a year, with intakes in April and October, and the new FdSc in Artisan Food Production will start in September 2019.

Preparing for Business

The start-up courses will help a new baker take their business from wishful thinking to commercial reality, the representatives of the School say. From introductory level courses that challenge you and your concept, to the Advanced Certificate that allows you to work through the stages of start-up in a supportive, dynamic environment.

The Artisan Business Start-up Certificate will help a new baker take the crucial steps to transform their business concept into reality.

Alternatively, they offer a one day course, “Creating A Successful Micro-bakery”, which covers the following key ingredients for a successful business such as space planning; equipment options and dos and don’ts; how to discover and meet local demand; legal and statutory requirements; how to grow a customer base; how to operate smoothly and efficiently; stock control; production planning; future proofing and dinancial considerations.

Students are invited to bring along their bakery ideas or plans, so they can be explored and developed during the course.

“My greatest pleasure is to see students of all ages from all walks of life producing delicious food in a thoughtful way. They leave The School with the confidence to develop new products and sometimes to start their own new businesses,” Swan Parente adds.

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