Mums and dads are being invited with their children to go on a tour of a top bakery that’s launched a campaign to recruit 16 and 17 year old school leavers.
The award-winning Wrexham-based Jones Village Bakery has a range of jobs on offer including 20 apprenticeships – and the promise of adult Real Living Wage pay rates from the word go, starting at £9.50 an hour.
In recent years, the family firm has concentrated on recruiting young people aged over the age of 18 but says it’s been missing a trick.
Now the bakery is going back to the future to recruit younger workers straight from school and offering them “fantastic prospects”.
The company has traditionally had a grow-your-own policy and most of its bakery managers and supervisors joined as school leavers and climbed the career ladder.
Also on offer are 9am to 5pm weekday shifts as well as weekend roles for students, with family friendly shifts also available.
According to the company, a job with the Jones Village Bakery was a debt-free option to university with great career prospects for the right candidates.
HR manager Jason Page said: “We have great career opportunities and we are at least a Real Living Wage employer.
“Younger people joining us -that’s 16-17 year olds – start at £9.50 an hour rather than rather than the £4.60 provided by the National Minimum Wage.”
Among the recent starters at the Jones Village Bakery is Tilly Squire,16, from Wrexham, who’s been working the packing department for the past month.
She said: “What I like about working here is that we are paid the Real Living Wage and not the minimum wage.
“I’m one of the youngest but everyone’s really friendly and that’s important because I wouldn’t want to work with them if they weren’t nice.
“I work Monday to Friday so I still get the weekends of so I can still see my friends.
“I would like to progress and become a line supervisor or move up to be a manager.”
Workmate Tia Roberts, 17, from Wrexham, says she is settling in well, alongside Tilly as part of the packing team.
She said: “The Village Bakery don’t discriminate against young people – everyone doing the same job is on the same pay. That’s important because they are show respect to young people.”
Earlier this year the Jones Village Bakery opened a brand new flagship bakery on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
The 140,000 sq ft facility has been hailed as the most modern in Europe and includes a state-of-the-art Baking Academy to train the next generation of bakers.
Managing director Robin Jones said: “We are a growing company and there are lot so exciting times ahead so, essentially, we’re going back to basics in terms of recruitment.
“We’re looking to take on young people straight from school as we did with Tom Breeze and Jack Davies who joined as young lads and are now bakery managers.
“Jack is running Europe’s most modern gluten free bakery and Tom is in charge of our family jewels, our bakery in Minera.
“Our grow-your-own policy has been the foundation of our success – there are some great kids out there and I want to really push a vocational route.
“If you’re a 16 year old who wants to work, we’re going to give you £9.50 an hour rather than the £4.50 an hour you’d get for working at a fast food restaurant.
“We expect people to work hard but for that we pay young people a proper adult wage.
“Joining the Village Bakery straight from school is as realistic option to university by taking the vocational route.
“Among the pluses is that you’re not saddled with tens of thousands of pounds of debt when you complete your degree.
“You’re on a decent wage from the word go and the opportunities for progression up the career ladder are endless.
“If you want a degree, you can still do that by going to night school – so we’re a good choice whichever way you look at things.
“I would invite mums and dads to come and have a look with them to see what we’re all about.
“It’s not about working long hours and early mornings any more. We have the most advanced manufacturing equipment in Europe and an air-conditioned bakery.
“Working alongside Coleg Cambria, we provide excellent training with the opportunity to gain NVQs.
“You don’t need to go to university to have a great career and Jack and Tom are both evidence of that.
“My message to young people looking for a good future is that there are fantastic career prospects here and they will be treated with respect.
“Yes, it’s hard work but they can earn plenty of dough at the Village Bakery.”