November 15th, 2011
Bread Baker of the Year - Kyle Tainsh (Ernest Adams)
“I want to see how far I can go. I want to go as far as I can in my job and within my chosen industry.”
With such a goal it’s no wonder Kyle Tainsh of Ernest Adams in Palmerston North took out the 2011 New Zealand Young Bread Baker of the Year Award.
This was a significant achievement for Kyle during a signifi cant 12-month period in his professional development that took him closer to reaching his goals.
He entered the Award competition to see where his skills were at, and to highlight areas he might need to work on to improve. “It was a really tough competition with three parts – a theory test, a presentation, and a 4½ hour practical session.
“I was glad I had the training and work experience from my apprenticeship to help me through the theory and practical sections especially,” says Kyle.
His Level 4 National Certificate in Baking – Craft Baking certificate hangs proudly next to his 2011 Young Bread Baker of the Year Award certificate directly above his computer desk.
“Yeah, I’m proud of these achievements, and I like to look up at them every day!”
It’s hard not to wonder why a qualified craft baker would want to enter a bread baking competition, and how he could then go on to win it.
“I used to work for a small bakery and then a large bread baking plant in Masterton before moving to Ernest Adams here in Palmerston North. So I have a good understanding of bread-making and it’s just as creative as other elements of baking.”
One day he saw the Product Development Technician role advertised internally and thought ‘why not?’, and applied. He got the job, and continues to enjoy growing in his role every day.
“It was a really good opportunity to step up in my career, and I wasn’t going to let it pass me by.” Kyle’s journey began back in school – he knew he wanted to do an apprenticeship but was unsure of what kind of apprenticeship to do.
“Working part-time in a bakery helped me understand what I was getting into. I like baking. It’s always different.
“You create something special from very basic ingredients – I enjoy the creativity.” He was particularly strong in his science subjects and took a lot of interest in the material.
“Chemistry actually plays a large part in baking. You need to understand how yeast reacts and how this drives variability in the process. Also, knowing the quantities to add, and their temperature tolerances are important.
“Then you need to apply that learning to make things that look and taste great, it’s challenging but fun.” As a Product Development Technician, Kyle’s greatest challenges are planning and creativity under time pressure.
“Customers ask for quite customised products, like a certain kind of cake. I have to come up with ways to create the product and make sure that we will deliver it on time and as requested.”
His supervisor and colleague, David Horman, reckons he and Kyle must have worked on bids for up to 80 new product tenders within the last year.
This process involves taking a product brief from a potential customer, developing and testing products to meet that brief, and then submitting the product samples they’ve developed to the customer in the hope of winning the contract and new business opportunities for their employer.
“It’s really competitive and your turnaround time is usually only three weeks from the time you get the brief to when you need to submit your samples and a production plan – it’s really tight,” says David.
“Our own marketing team give us product briefs too and it’s our job to turn their ideas into product samples that might become the next key sweets-baked good,” adds Kyle.
“It’s quite a cool feeling to see something you’ve helped to develop from an idea to a real product on the supermarket shelf.”
Kyle reckons he would not be in his current role without going through his apprenticeship.
“The training and knowledge passed on to me has been really useful. It prepared me for the realities and demands of my job. “When you start out, you don’t realise what’s involved in getting a qualification. It’s demanding and you have to really stick at it.”
From 2008 it was ‘full steam ahead’ to complete his craft baking apprenticeship and all the required advanced units, covering everything from the science of baking and quality assurance to decorating and presentation.
He’d already covered basic units such as health and safety, food safety, teamwork, basic dough and preparation and weighing.
Kyle’s apprenticeship involved learning on-the-job and attending courses at a local training provider.
He was given course materials and other resources to work through, and was visited regularly by Goodman Fielder’s own technical trainer, Joe Jarkiewicz, to keep him on track with his studies.
“The mentoring was really good. It really helped when you were stuck or didn’t know something. An apprenticeship keeps you on your toes and expands your knowledge, and Joe made sure I kept up with and completed all the coursework.”
Goodman Fielder manages and supports all their employees’ training on a national basis.
“When you’re supported and encouraged by your employer every step of the way it’s a lot easier – they really looked after me in that way.
“An apprenticeship is not difficult, but it is definitely challenging. You must push yourself but what you learn opens up a whole new world. It’s awesome. Getting qualified makes you more in demand; it really adds value to you.”
As he walks around the production floor it’s clear he has a great depth of product and technical knowledge. There’s a myriad of product on production lines right now including biscuits, slices, miniature Christmas mince pies, cakes and puff-pastry, and he speaks knowledgably on all of them.
“I learnt a lot of what I know today out here on these lines making biscuits, slices, cakes, and operating these machines; pretty much everything you see here, I’ve done,” he says.
He jokes with ‘the crew’ and asks how they’re getting on with their work, and reflects on the time he spent honing his trade and learning about the commercial world out here on the production floor.
Kyle has definitely found his calling, exercising both his technical and practical knowledge in the world of baking to forge a career in a profession that he loves and excels in.