Serious dough has been spent on creating a world-class Baking Training Centre at Federation University to help train apprentice bakers and address a skills-shortage in the region.
The $1.5 million high-tech bakery training centre has been cooking for the past five weeks with staff, apprentices and local industry welcoming the investment in the sector.
The smell of fresh-baked bread and pastries now wafts out from a converted garage at the rear of the university's SMB campus in the Ballarat CBD.
Classes of up to 16 apprentices will learn the ways of yeast, pastries and other techniques from experienced baking teachers.
Qualified bakers are in hot demand, being nominated as a sector with a skills shortage. According to the federal government, there has been a shortage of bakers around Australia for much of the past decade with just 31 per cent of vacancies filled by qualified bakers.
Josh Chapman, who recently open new bakery 1816 in Armstrong St, said many bakers who train with big-chain bakeries only learn to make the product lines that the chains sell.
His first apprentice, Tylah Manea, 16, will be among the first trained in the new centre. "It's amazing and a lot to get to grips with, but this is a very great opportunity," she said.
A lot of people thought traditional trades like baking and butchery would die out as supermarkets got bigger, but we've actually seen a push to people want to source beautiful quality baked goods, breads and pastries.Wendouree MP Juliana Addison
"Baking and pastries are my passion. I dropped out of school to go to a commercial cooking course, then Josh offered me an apprenticeship."
Mr Chapman said the new centre would improve the training of apprentices.
"Previous apprentice training was delivered on the job so they didn't really mix with other apprentices or learn further skills. This centre will bring the baking and pastry industry up another level," he said.
"You didn't get to learn skills apart from their produce range but now, Tylah and other apprentices will be doing bread one day, croissants the next, and get a much broader experience."
The new centre will offer qualifications in Certificate III in Bread Baking and Certificate III in Baking.
With a shift toward more artisan breads and bakery goods there is increasing demand for bakers, particularly in regional areas.
Wendouree MP Juliana Addison officially opened the new centre, which received almost $840,000 funding from the state government to buy and install commercial-grade equipment. Federation University contributed more than $700,000 to refurbish their training facilities.
"These facilities will train Ballarat's next generation of bakers. It means apprentices can build new skills to start their career right here in Ballarat," she said.
"I came from a line of bakers. My family ran a very successful bakery down in Geelong during the 1930s. My great grandfather would be shocked to see the amazing technology in here that can be controlled from a mobile phone to turn ovens on and off. He would have thought that was quite extraordinary."
"A lot of people thought traditional trades like baking and butchery would die out as supermarkets got bigger, but we've actually seen a push to people want to source beautiful quality baked goods, breads and pastries."
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Farmers looking to adapt in an uncertain climate
Federation University vice chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett said the facility was "all about the craft of baking".
"The new Baking Training Centre will allow students to learn new skills in artisan bread making, croissants and other fine pastries that require specialist equipment and training."
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.