School of Baking expands international outreach, education offerings

by Staff
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During 2012, the AIB School of Baking continued improving and expanding educational offerings, seminars, courses, and consulting services with an eye toward additional international offerings, particularly in Latin America.

“One of the areas of improvement we’re undertaking is to better target our products,” said Kirk O’Donnell, vice-president of education. “We’ve listened to the industry, and we’ve acted. As we expand our understanding of the ongoing changes in the baking industry’s needs, we are able to better refine our products and services to meet those needs and expand our services to additional locations.”

The School of Baking’s international presence continued to grow. In 2012, baking education faculty performed consulting and conducted courses and seminars in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Spain, the United Kingdom, Congo, India and Korea. Expansion in the Latin American market sustains exponential growth.

“Our seminars in Brazil are a completely new offering,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “It’s a brand new market with courses being offered in a new language for us. It’s an exciting expansion of our growing Latin American presence.

“Part of the challenge is embracing innovation and responding to change while maintaining our brand. Our faculty spends a lot of time in the field, learning about new equipment, technologies and ingredients. That experience helps us stay current and adapt our learning delivery methods and content to meet industry needs.”

Aaron Clanton, baking curriculum manager, undertook extensive baking industry research to determine which job skills are most in demand from employers. Mr. Clanton studied 350 job descriptions from 42 baking companies, extracted 160 specific job requirements, isolated 70 skills for supervisors, and created a baking competencies matrix for use in redesigning current courses, developing new courses, and adapting course content for flexible methods of delivery — including hybrid and on-line courses.

“We researched industry needs and created a model for training,” Mr. Clanton said. “Our question was, ‘What do people do in their jobs?’ We identified operations, research and development, and quality assurance positions as our focus. What we wanted to do was get to the core learning objectives and design content to meet that need.”

The model incorporates four distinct areas of instruction, including pre-classroom preparation, interactive classroom instruction, hands-on application, and continuing post-program education.

By defining the target audience and training needs in different areas of the baking industry, courses and seminars can be designed to fit the specific needs of each client.

“In addition to continually making improvements to our educational products, we’re finding ways to better target our products,” Mr. O’Donnell said. ”Knowing what drives members of the baking industry toward increased job performance in different areas of baking helps us refine existing products and develop new ones to better serve our clients.”

New effective bakery manager course

The Production Operations/Management seminar has been replaced with a new seminar designed to meet the changing demands of the baking industry. The new course, The Effective Bakery Production Manager, addresses the most common challenges faced by production managers. The curriculum specifically addresses challenges such as regulatory concerns, production planning, understanding production costs, documentation and data analysis, process improvements and cost reduction, application of resources, and problem solving. In 2013, AIB has scheduled three formats for this new course: a one-week, face-to-face course; the same face-to-face course offered virtually; and a two-week program appended to the 16-week Baking Science and Technology (BS&T) course.

The new seminar content has been approved by selected industry experts who are or have been successful plant managers. The new course was offered for the first time in February 2013 and replaces the Production Operations/Management seminar in AIB’s certification programs.

The central component of the previous seminar — the G.A.M.E. computer simulation — is being converted into a virtual classroom that will be offered in 2013. The simulation allows up to 12 teams to compete against each other for market share, financial solvency, and retained earnings. With the course offered in a virtual format, an increased number of students may participate, and teams will be comprised of members who are located around the globe.

The BS&T course also is affected by the curriculum revisions. The production management section of the BS&T has been moved to the last two weeks of the course where it will serve as a capstone experience. The change will allow participants to apply what they learn in the science, bread and rolls, and sweet goods sections of the BS&T to production management. Additional baking labs were added to the bread and roll section of the BS&T to increase the hands-on experience for participants.

Looking forward

“Much of what we accomplished in the School of Baking in 2012 set the groundwork for additional expansion of educational offerings and other services,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “With a relatively small staff, we manage to accomplish a great deal. We’re looking forward to creating even more products and services for our students and clients in the upcoming year.”

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