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A grant to help pupils with expenses accrued during work placements or industry event attendance has helped three people since its inception by the Alliance for Bakery Students & Trainers (ABST) and Craft Bakers Association (CBA).

The fund, introduced at the end of last year, gives financial support to bakery students and trainees who are offered unpaid or low-paid work experience, as well as help with the expenses incurred through attending industry conferences and events.

The scheme was developed after the ABST learned that some students would not put themselves forward for opportunities because they would not be able to afford the expenses involved.

“We have so far supported three fantastic students with money to fund work experience or industry events and these students reported back that they made fantastic connections and got some relevant experience down on their CVs,” Sophie Braker, ABST conference secretary, told British Baker.

“It is absolutely vital that we make it as straightforward as possible for students to enter the industry, and we are receiving plenty of new applications now that the exams are over and students have some extra time to dedicate to gaining experience.”

The application form can be found on the ABST website, but students and trainees are advised to first consider their application with their lead tutor, who will then sign off the application to ensure funds are spent appropriately.

Tutors pass the application onto the ABST, which then passes it onto the CBA subject to committee approval.

“’The ABST is proud to be collaborating with the CBA to provide a grant that bakery students and trainees can apply for to fund unpaid or low-paid work experience within the industry,” Braker, added.

“So many companies are facing staff shortages, and investment must be made to ensure that enough skilled bakers enter into bakery roles. With the CBA supporting grant, bakeries should feel confident in offering opportunities to students who have missed exposure to available roles during the pandemic.”