Jess Dalton

Bakery Apprentice at University College Birmingham

I started doing health and social care at another college but I didn’t like it and dropped out. I am a practical person, I don’t like to sit down for too long, and the course wasn’t right for me.

I started working at a shoe shop and came along to an open day at University College Birmingham. I came to look at the chef department but I saw the bakery and preferred that.

I started here in 2013 and did Level 1 and Level 2 in bakery before I started the apprenticeship in September 2015. I am working towards my Level 3 and am always busy. You are always doing something. The job is brilliant. It is like it was meant to happen. I had never done baking in my life before I came to UCB and now I am winning prizes.

There are three bakery apprentices here. One of us works 7am to 3pm, which means they are on bread duties. The other two do 10am to 6pm, working on chocolate and confectionery. We make products for the shop at UCB and orders for the restaurants as well as the university cafes.

The apprenticeship is mainly practical work, which is perfect for me. You get to see what working in industry will be like. You get a better experience of batch production, making bigger quantities of products. Chocolate is my favourite. I like the attention to detail, everything has to be spot on. We have started doing afternoon teas at UCB and it is great because we can develop our ideas on pastry and confectionery.

The work I am most proud of is making the chocolates for a Royal visit. Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, opened a new building at the University and I had to make all the chocolates for the VIP guests and a special selection of assorted flavours for Sophie.

I have applied to join the bakery degree at UCB and I would love to teach one day. However, working in product development is my first goal.

Find out more about our Bakery Apprenticeships.