UCB helps to support small food businesses

February 2015

UCB is working in partnership with the Walter Smith Employer Leadership Project (WS-ELP) to support small and medium food businesses by offering Transformational Short Courses. 

The first course of its type was a chocolate master class held for bakers and pastry chefs. Hosted in the University’s kitchens, employees and entrepreneurs were able to learn the basics of working with chocolate. They practised traditional artisan methods such as hand-tempering as well as moulding techniques such as flooding, brushing and chocolate colouring to make a range of tasty treats. 

The WS-ELP team selected UCB as a partner because it was looking for an outstanding training provider who wanted to engage with industries and offer knowledge, experience and subject specialism in dealing with food businesses. The University’s reputation as a centre of excellence for bakery meant it could offer a selection of workshops led by experienced lecturers in industry-standard kitchens.  

This is the first time I ve been in UCB for over 20 years, but I still remember being a student here with Dawn Gemmell teaching me cake-decorating techniques. So many things have changed, and I was particularly impressed with the fantastic baking and confectionery facilities I have been using in this workshop. My business is expanding, so I’m hoping to apply the new skills I have learned here in future ventures.

Sharon Hollyer, owner of a bespoke celebration cake business in Tamworth and a UCB alumni


Offering these Transformational Short Courses not only encourages innovation in small businesses but also offers specialist training for industry employees interested in expanding their skill set. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Walter Smith Employer Leadership Project and are looking forward to holding more bakery and confectionery master classes.

Melanie Shaw, Assistant Dean of Apprenticeships in the Business School

The University and WS-ELP will be offering more short courses to smaller food businesses in areas including bakery and allergen awareness. 

The Walter Smith Employer Leadership Project is a part of Walter Smith, an award-winning butchery business that is recognised for not only employing apprentices, but providing a range of additional training and development activity. It is supporting 250 small and medium food businesses to adopt best practice, embrace staff development and create a culture of continuous improvement.