A SWEET partnership between Coleg Cambria and a pioneering bakery business is serving up success for its staff.
The college has been working with The Pudding Compartment in Flint to upskill team members through the Skills for Employers and Employees (SEE) project.
Managing Director Steve West says the collaboration boosted morale and has given individuals the confidence to progress within the company.
It has been a challenging year for the business – as it has for all sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic – but Steve says they have adapted to strengthen their position.
He himself has been nominated for an SME National Business Award in the Business Hero category, and during the first Coronavirus lockdown was lauded for launching the A Million Thanks campaign, a social enterprise which delivered ingredients to home bakers across the country who were unable to access them due to panic buying and the initial shortage of supermarket supplies.
A former learner at Coleg Cambria in Connah’s Quay – previously Deeside College – he is honoured to have been selected for the prizegiving at Wembley Arena next Spring and thanked the college for its support over past years.
“I was nominated by the college for the award, so it’s a huge source of pride for me and I’m very grateful,” said Steve.
“My connection with Deeside goes back almost 30 years to when I was a student there, so to be working in partnership with them to help my team develop their skills has been fantastic.
“As a result, we have taken several on as permanent staff, welcomed apprentices and work experience placements and together the relationship has developed. It’s been great.”
Having started his academic journey on a HNC in Mechanical Engineering, Steve entered the baking sector 13 years ago.
He now employs up to 25 people and plans to launch a new arm of the firm – the Creative Bake Company – in the near future, supplying cakes, cookies and sweet treats to national clients in a variety of new sectors, notably independent retailers and coffee shops in addition to their regular customers in tourism and travel.
“We make everything in-house and use local produce, it is a very artisan process and that is important to me,” said Steve.
“Like many businesses we adapted and diversified this year to keep things going; it’s been tough for everyone, but I have managed to retain all of my staff and we will move forward together.”
Yvonne Evans, Assessor for Food Manufacturing at Coleg Cambria, said the alliance with The Pudding Compartment is an example of their links with leading names in industry.
“We were delighted to be able to nominate Steve for the Business Hero award because of the incredible efforts he made for the community during the lockdown, and are thrilled to see he has made it onto the final shortlist,” she said.
“We bring education together with numerous sectors through the SEE programme, providing opportunities for staff to develop their skills and work towards their future career progression.
“Our long-standing partnership with Steve and The Pudding Compartment is an example of that, and we look forward to working together for many years to come.”