The great training debate

first_imgOK, so let me confess straight up – I am an accountant and the amount I truly know about baking can be written on a grain of baking powder. The only time I have ever baked was on a 72-foot, 50-tonne yacht in the mid-Atlantic, which was racing for Boston on a 40-degree tilt… and I can assure you that is not good for making bread evenly sliceable!But here I am, newly elected chairman of the National Skills Academy Bakery Steering Group – just shows the world loves a willing volunteer (aka fool?). Mind you, I will comfortably be able to identify with those studying the courses we end up devising, as I will know as much as them on day one – so maybe I had better enrol soon!So what is the Steering Group here to do? Well, after much huffing and puffing and declarations of “something must be done” over the ageing skilled workforce in our trade, the industry has decided to see if it can come up with a united voice on what it needs (a formal training programme), how it needs it (delivered by a variety of methods from college attendance to work-based), where it needs it (all over the UK), and when it needs it (now!). In simple terms, it is the creation of a Bakery Academy within the family of the National Skills Academy. OK, so how will we tackle it?For a start, let us keep things simple – it would be great to develop an international baccalaureate degree, but maybe first we should capture the imagination of those thousands of bakery workers who have learnt nothing more than how to open a bag, add water, and press a button. Hundreds of these people wonder to themselves “Why?” every day and they should be our initial intake. They are just dying to understand the basic functionality of the core ingredients that our industry uses.Crack that, and the international diplomas can follow, as dozens will want to go on to the “next level” with a number going even further. Like creating Wimbledon Champions, it is a numbers game, with hundreds (if not thousands) needed at the base.Pulling togetherThen, the Group needs to pull the industry together. For some reason, the bread boys, the cake suppliers, the patissiers, and the bakery ingredients suppliers seem to think they all have special needs – pish! Look, it is all flour, butter, egg, yeast, water etc at its core level and we want rounded trainees, so let us drive towards a course that can achieve this aim… and yes, let us all be bold enough to swap our trainees around on placements, even if it means we do risk them not coming back!Number three? Unite the acronyms! Wow, we have a huge number of trade bodies – if anyone is in them all, their business card is the size of a London bus. Fortunately, they all have the same driving aim – their care for our industry – and many have joined the Steering Group, for which I am very grateful. If we can devise a scheme which suits them all, we will be well on our way.Then there is the hidden gem of our training colleges, both private and publicly funded… but who genuinely knows what is already out there for our training? It was only reading Chris North’s article from 27 June that I learned of the VRQ – and we employ 3,000 people in Finsbury Food Group!The dwindling number of colleges and lecturers is also a genuine fear. Yet with students banging on their door, I know we can re-energise the training programme. We must spread the word and the message that baking is a true trade and one to be hugely proud to participate in.So, that is the sort of draft plan for Phase One – basic skills training delivered nationally at an affordable cost, with unanimous industry support. Right now, there is huge wave of enthusiasm for this aim, so let us jump on the surfboard and hang tough on the crest, as we take our crusade crashing across the UK shores.Sounds fun – even to an accountant – though I want and need your views, opinions and, ultimately, support. My contact details are detailed below.* Dave Brooks is chief executive of Finsbury Food Group, as well as chairman of the National Skills Academy Bakery Steering Group. Please send him your views at [email protected], or via the National Skills Academy on [email protected] or [email protected] The next meeting of the Group is Monday 11 August.last_img read more

FSA returns affirmative on folic acid fortification

first_imgThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reaffirmed its recommendation that bread or flour should be fortified with folic acid after considering updated information on folic acid and cancer from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).The recommendation to the chief medical officer (CMO) Sir Liam Donaldson means mandatory fortification is increasingly likely, but raises unanswered questions about how the proposal would be implemented, who would foot the costs and what effect it would have on sales.Alex Waugh, director of the National Association of Irish and British Millers, told British Baker that, if the recommendation is adopted, the practicalities would have to be addressed by government. “It could be done if folic acid was added at the same time as other fortificants, but there would be a cost involved and that is an issue we would raise,” he said. “There is also a worry that the length of time discussions have taken has polarised views. The column inches dedicated to folic acid have not been helpful in developing consumer understanding. Some consumers could be turned off bread.”Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers (FoB), said: “Whatever decision is reached, the FoB will fully support [it],” and added it continued to strongly advise that fortification of flour at the milling stage was the most viable solution.Chris Young, project officer at the Real Bread Campaign, said that if the recommendations go ahead, it would be “more undeclared mass medication”, that would only benefit a very small percentage of the population. He added that traditional wind and water millers would also struggle to foot the costs. “An estimate from the secretary of the Traditional Cornmillers Guild, said it would involve spending around £20k on new equipment,” said Young. The Soil Association would request an exemption for organic products if the recommendation is accepted.The FSA first recommended mandatory fortification of bread or flour with folic acid in June 2007, following advice from the SACN. However, the CMO asked the SACN to consider two new studies on folic acid and colo-rectal cancer risk before advice was given to health ministers. After analysing the new evidence, the SACN concluded that its previous recommendation that flour should be fortified with folic acid was still valid.Folic acid fortification would prevent dozens of babies develo-ping spina bifida each year, as it plays a key role in foetal growth.last_img read more

Bako NW to host Family Fun Day

first_imgBako North Western is holding its third annual Family Fun Day at the company’s Preston premises, to give suppliers and customers a chance to meet and share ideas.More than 45 suppliers will be exhibiting, including The National Association of Master Bakers, while the event will also host a number of interactive demonstrations. These will feature suppliers such as Renshawnapier, which will demonstrate cupcakes toppers, described as “cute little characters” from the new Renshaw coloured Regalice range.Other attractions at the event on 12 June will include a bouncy castle, face painting and giant games for the children, plus a free refreshment area.Find further details at read more

National Statistics: Abortion statistics for England and Wales: 2019

first_imgThis report sets out and comments on abortion statistics in England and Wales for 2019.The statistics are obtained from the abortion notification forms returned to the chief medical officers of England and Wales.last_img

Bakery ingredients firm invests £750k in facilities

first_imgNorthern Ireland-based bakery ingredients supplier Andrew Ingredients is investing £750,000 that will include two new-build projects at its facilities in Lisburn. Specialising in providing the baking industry with innovative ingredients, it has grown its overall business by 33% across the Ireland since moving to its current site in 2011.This year the company’s growth will continue, with extended warehouse facilities and a new test bakery. The warehouse will include four new loading bays and a refrigeration unit, while the test bakery will enhance the company’s ability to support customers with product development. Both projects will be completed and operational by June.Tim Andrew, from Andrew Ingredients, said: “We are delighted to announce details of our investment plans for 2015. The new facilities at our Lisburn site will not only equip us with the ability to continue to deliver excellence to the baking industry across the island of Ireland, but will also help mark our milestone of 70 years in business.”The family-owned company is celebrating its 70th anniversary in June.last_img read more

Edme celebrates success for National Apprentice Week

first_imgAs part of National Apprentice Week (6-10 March 2016), ingredients supplier Edme is reflecting on the success of its own trainees.Edme has taken on a number of apprentices and trainees – some now filling full-time, permanent roles in the business.These include site director Jason Powell, who started his career at the company on a youth training scheme around 30 years ago. He is responsible for the whole site, the production of thousands of tonnes of flour and flakes, and all the engineering that supports that production.“It’s great to have a team of highly experienced operators, but equally as important is motivating youngsters who are keen to be trained and to earn permanent places in the company,” Powell said.“It’s crucial that the food industry – which nourishes the nation – attracts some of the best talent in the country.”Edme also paid tribute to the following people who have significantly progressed in an apprenticeship scheme with the company:Jordan Peck, first-year apprentice in the Edme labLuke Nesbitt, second-year apprentice in the Edme labStephen Faldo, who joined Edme as an apprentice straight from school at the age of 16 and is now working full-time as a maintenance engineerRobbie Crathern, who left school to take up a role as an apprentice electrician at Edme.last_img read more

Listen To The Steve Kimock Band’s Masterful Performance From Exactly 15 Years Ago [Listen]

first_imgOn this date, back in 2003, The Steve Kimock Band was tearing up The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. The band, consisting of Steve Kimock on guitar, Rodney Holmes on drums, Mitch Stein on guitar, and Arne Livingston on bass, was completely dialed in for the performance, offering up highly calibrated improvisational sections, beautiful and swirling melodies, and a patient execution of each song. Scott Brown captured the action, and his recording of the evening’s performance has near-perfect sound. Give it a listen below, you won’t regret it!last_img read more

A Sneak Peek Into “The Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa” Hologram Tour’s Rehearsal [Video]

first_img“The Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa” is set to launch in 2019 with a Frank Zappa hologram, alongside members of the Mothers of Invention. The tour will kick off with nine U.S. dates in April followed by seven European dates in May, with additional dates set to be announced in the coming monthsA Penguin’s Ass Ignites New Frank Zappa Censorship Controversy Surrounding Upcoming Hologram Tour [Video]If you’ve been wondering what the heck this hologram tour will look like, organizers have shared a sneak peek from rehearsal to be viewed below:Frank Zappa Hologram Rehearsal VideoThe Frank Zappa hologram was created by Eyellusion, the company behind a hologram of Ronnie James Dio that embarked on a world tour last year, and will serve as the centerpiece to “hours of never-before-seen (or heard) Zappa performance footage from the early seventies.”As a previous press release detailed,In 1974, FRANK ZAPPA transformed his Los Angeles rehearsal space into a sound stage and cranked out some unbelievable performances seen and heard only by the camera operators in the room. The audio from these performances–locked away in the ZAPPA vaults for 44 years–will serve as the basis for what will be the world’s most ambitious hologram tour to date. The “can’t miss” concert spectacle is being produced in close cooperation with the ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST.The “Bizarre World of Frank Zappa” hologram tour band is comprised of former Zappa bandmates for this unique series of shows. The touring unit boasts guitarists Ray White and Mike Keneally, bassist Scott Thunes, multi-instrumentalist Robert Martin, percussionist Ed Mann, and drummer and Zappa archivist Joe “Vaultmeister” Travers.The “Bizarre World of Frank Zappa” tour is approved and organized by the Zappa Family Trust. Ahmet Zappa, a co-trustee and the trust’s executive vice president of business development, enthused in a statement: “We’re excited to world premiere a handful of Frank Zappa compositions; these mind-melting concerts we’re putting together celebrate the music, often surreal imagery and humour synonymous with Frank.”Ahmet continues, “As a futurist, and hologram enthusiast, Frank fearlessly broke through boundary after boundary as an artist and in honouring his indomitable spirit, we’re about to do it again, 25 years after his passing.”Check out the promotional video, which includes audio of Frank Zappa speaking out about Holograms, below:“The Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa – Coming 2019”[Video: Frank Zappa]The Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa U.S. Tour Dates4/19 Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theater4/20 Rochester, NY – Kodak Center Theater4/22 Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie4/24 Long Island, NY – Paramount Theatre4/26 Boston, MA – Shubert4/28 Albany, NY – The Palace Theatre05/1 Wilkes Barre, PA – Kirby Center05/2 Collingswood, NJ – Scottish Rite Auditorium05/3 Baltimore, MD – The Modell LyricThe Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa European Tour Dates5/9 Edinburgh, UK – Playhouse5/11 Gateshead, UK – Sage5/12 Manchester, UK – Bridgewater Hall5/13 Birmingham, UK – Symphony Hall5/14 London, UK – The Palladium5/16 Ostend, BE – Kurssal5/17 Amsterdam, NL – Rai TheaterView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

More Dutch treasures for Harvard

first_imgLike many kids growing up in the 1930s, George Abrams ’54, LL.B. ’57, made marbles and baseball cards his earliest beloved collections. Fast-forward 80 years and Abrams is one of the world’s most celebrated collectors of drawings from the Dutch Golden Age, eager to ensure his cherished art is cherished by others for decades to come.Last week, Abrams announced a gift of 330 16th- to 18th-century Dutch, Flemish, and Netherlandish drawings from the Maida and George Abrams collection to the Harvard Art Museums. The trove includes four works by Rembrandt and a number of drawings by the artist’s pupils, and adds to more than 140 previous gifts to the Harvard Art Museums by Abrams and his wife, who died in 2002. The couple gave 110 drawings in 1999 and bequeathed more works in subsequent years. With the combined gifts, Harvard now has the most comprehensive holding of 17th-century Dutch drawings outside of Europe.The new collection, said Martha Tedeschi, the museums’ Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, “gives us incredible depth and breadth.”“Before we had great examples of some of the major hands of the period,” she said. “But now, when you can see multiple works by multiple artists or works that represent a whole career or pockets of material where you have a whole school, you can see the way that artists were speaking to each other and looking at each other’s work. You can use the collection in a very different way and teach from it in a very different way.”The opportunity to help educate future generations of curators was key to Abrams’ decision to give the works to the museums. No less so was Harvard’s longtime commitment to drawings.“Harvard was the center of the interest in drawings for the 20th century, and Paul Sachs trained many of the drawing scholars and curators and collectors,” said Abrams of the former director of the Fogg Museum, who was so devoted to the study of drawings that he donated his own collection to the University.George Abrams ’54, LL.B. ’57, at the Harvard Art Museums art study center with works from his collection of Dutch art. On Friday Abrams promised a gift of 330 drawings from the Dutch Golden Age to Harvard.Abrams became a savvy student of Dutch art, learning from a number of Harvard-trained experts, including Seymour Slive, Agnes Mongan, and William W. Robinson, the former Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings. As his collection grew, he also took on the role of teacher, hosting Harvard students at his home for seminars and to study his work, and frequently meeting with curators-in-training to share his knowledge of the field.Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings Edouard Kopp called Abrams’ approach to collecting a “combination of passion, of skill, of clarity of vision, of remarkable persistence.” The end result, said Kopp, “is this very cohesive and remarkable ensemble.”The Harvard Art Museums deepened its support of research, scholarship, and hands-on learning with its multiyear renovation completed in the fall of 2014, which included the expansion of the Art Study Center, a vast space on the fourth floor devoted to each of the three museums (the Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Arthur M. Sackler Museum).There on a recent afternoon Abrams sat surrounded by several drawings that are part of the museums’ current exhibit “The Art of Drawing in the Dutch Golden Age, 1590-1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection.” The Harvard alumnus spoke to the importance of preserving the art he has carefully collected and curated, for future generations. “Drawings have existed for hundreds of years and we want them to continue to exist,” said Abrams. “The best way to ensure that is to have really good examples available for young people to look at, and understand, and work on.”Art has been a lifelong passion for Abrams, an attorney whose first exposure to the Dutch masters came during a summer job in the Netherlands while he was a student at Harvard Law School. Later he and his wife became a collecting team. While visiting various galleries and dealers on a trip to Europe in 1961 they gravitated to the Dutch drawings, partly because of the subject matter.“They were about everyday things and about things that we could relate to very easily,” Abrams said, noting that price also came into play: “The Dutch were considered a little plebian and didn’t have quite the cachet of the French or the Italian intellectual power.”Through the years the couple’s tastes complemented each other. George kept a close eye on the provenance and his wife looked out for when a work had “too much history and not enough art.”“Maida would sometimes make me rethink what I was doing,” said Abrams. “I once found a drawing, a portrait of a rather unattractive man by kind of a rare artist. I said, ‘Rare artist, isn’t that something of interest?’ and she said, ‘It’s the ugliest drawing I’ve ever seen.’ So we didn’t get it.”Much of what they did get has made its way to Harvard, to the benefit of scholars and students.Tedeschi said the latest gift will “find a new life” in the study centers and in the “context of the teaching that we do.”She added: “There’s still a lot to be uncovered in this collection and it will be wonderful for more advanced students, graduate students to have this incredibly rich cache of drawings to think about mining for dissertation topics or their own original research.”The Abrams gift follows a major donation of Dutch works to the Museum of Fine Arts and the announcement of the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Boston museum. Tedeschi called the timing of the Abrams gift “exciting” and said she anticipates future collaborations with the MFA around the two collections.“It makes absolute sense to look at how the two sets of collections speak to each other. We are looking forward to collaborating. I can imagine all kinds of seminars and scholars’ days and workshops on both sides of the river.”last_img read more

SMC nursing professor studies diabetes

first_imgResults released this week from a Loyola University Chicago study suggest that vitamin D supplements can help decrease pain in women suffering from type-2 diabetes and depression. Mary Byrn, assistant professor of nursing at Saint Mary’s, was a member of the study’s original research team and said she has been involved in research since graduate school. “I got involved in that study as a graduate research assistant,” Byrn said. “My area of work is [obstetrics]  – labor and delivery – so since it’s women, it fit into my area.” Byrn said the study was originally looking at the impact of vitamin D supplements on moods. The subjects, women with type-2 diabetes and depression whose blood showed vitamin D deficiencies, were examined twice over the six-month supplement intake period, she said. Todd Doyle, a chemical psychology fellow at Loyola, conducted the analysis of the data Byrn and her colleagues gathered, she said. “In the original study we were really focused on depression, weight and blood pressure,” she said. “We found that the vitamin D for women with type-2 diabetes improved mood, improved depression, improved weight and also decreased pain.” Byrn said vitamin supplements could have a huge impact on daily health. She said the results of this study could significantly improve the lives of women currently suffering from the symptoms of type-2 diabetes. “People seem more willing to take a vitamin than a medication, so I think if we can find this to be an effective treatment, people will be more likely to stick to that treatment,” she said. Loyola researcher Sue Penckofer has been given a $1.49 million grant to conduct further studies into the effects of vitamin D. According to a Loyola press release, the vitamin D supplements in the study were provided in doses of 50,000 International Units (IU) per week, which averages out to about 7,000 IU per day. Compared to the normal recommendation of 600 IU a day, Byrn said this is a significant increase. “We work with an endocrinologist and a cardiologist and [50,000 IU is] something they’ll use with their patients when their patients come in with insufficient vitamin D levels,” she said. “They’ll use this 50,000 to get them up into normal levels.” Since the study will only involve women who meet the requirements, which includes having a demonstrable vitamin D deficiency, Byrn said there is little risk of incurring the negative side affects of too-high levels of vitamin D. She said Penckofer’s new study would examine the impact of different amounts of supplementary vitamin D, to validate and further the results from the previous study. “The new study is going to be randomized, so half of the people will get 50,000 IU [of vitamin D] and half of the people will get a normal vitamin D dose [of 4,200 IU],” Byrn said. “Hopefully, since there will be two groups, we’ll be able to see if it’s really the high-dose vitamin D that’s contributing to these results.” Although these studies have included only a small subset of the population, she said she believes the results may end up being applicable to people across the board. “With the next study, we’ll have more validated findings,” Byrns said. “Then our conclusions of the effects of vitamin D will be stronger, and then we will hopefully be able to get general practice physicians to start checking people’s vitamin D levels when they come in for their regular check up.” She said she sees the results of this study as providing a cost-effective treatment for a healthier population. Contact Tabitha Ricketts at [email protected]last_img read more