SUMMARY: Bakers who want to start their own specialty business or take on commercial management roles can learn the skills they need at new program being offered at VIU.
VIU MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday, February 9, 2021
NANAIMO, BC: Students who love baking and are ready to take the next step toward becoming a professional baker or even selling their own delicious creations can take a new diploma program starting in August 2021 at Vancouver Island University (VIU).
“Many of our graduates from the baking certificate program go on to start their own businesses,” says Rita Gower, Chair, Professional Baking and Pastry Arts. “That can be risky. It’s not enough to be really good at baking, you need a whole different skill set to thrive at being an entrepreneur.”
The new two-year Baking and Pastry Arts Management (BPAM) Diploma program provides students with advanced bakery instruction and the business planning and financial management training needed to allow graduates to move successfully into administrative positions or start their own commercial ventures.
“Having these additional skills opens up another level of opportunities for graduates,” says Gower. “We are seeing growth in the artisanal sector, with specialty bakeries that create custom cakes, breads and bagels, cheese making, ice-cream, condiments and more. People are looking for high-quality products made with the best ingredients that aren’t full of substances people can’t pronounce and are reflective of current trends such as gluten-free, organic or vegan.”
In the first year of the program, students learn the fundamentals of baking, safe operation of commercial kitchen appliances, efficient food production practices, pastry making, advanced breadmaking techniques, how to create stunning wedding cakes, baking in a wood-fired brick oven, and the knowledge and techniques for working with chocolate.
In year two, students will take advanced pastry courses, providing them with level two technical training towards a baker Red Seal certification. They will also plan and open a pop-up bakery and take a number of business courses that give them skills crucial to managing a kitchen or business, including human resource administration, accounting and marketing through VIU’s Department of Hospitality Management. Students in both the first and second year of the program also participate in a paid 10-week cooperative work placement, often leading to successful career placement.
Every year, highly skilled bakers are brought in as guest teachers to share their knowledge and techniques with VIU instructors and students.
Students and alumni of the baking program have an opportunity every two years to participate in a 16-day European field school excursion to Paris and Brussels touring professional baking facilities, partaking in numerous hands-on workshops and attending a five-day baking show, giving them exposure to international trends in their field.
The baking program has been popular with students from across Canada and for the first time will be open to international students. VIU’s Culinary Arts program has been accepting international students for several years.
Completion of the diploma also provides students with advanced credit when applying to the VIU Bachelor of Hospitality Management degree.
“We are excited to offer this comprehensive program,” says Gower. “We are responding to industry demand for competent graduates who are ready to start working in commercial kitchens, and we listened to what our students are saying they need to embrace rising into a management position or operating their own business and becoming the trainers and baking mentors of the future.”
Photo Caption: VIU Baking and Pastry Arts students making fruit tarts. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University