Baker 4.0 Symposium 2022
Words by W. Ling

Shaping the Future of the Baking and Confectionery Industry

In the ever-changing world, fraught with uncertainty, resilience coupled with the ability to adapt is crucial for survival. To ensure that our workforce keeps pace with the changes in the work environment caused by the disruption of new technologies and trends, NTUC’s Worker 4.0 initiative was borne. 

Under the Worker 4.0 umbrella is the Baker 4.0 initiative, which trains workers to be adaptive, possess job-specific technical skills, and be equipped with knowledge of the technology available, which will enable them to keep abreast of the changing trends and face future challenges. 

Chillax 2018 was the platform on which Baker 4.0 was launched. With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Singapore Bakery and Confectionery Trade Association (SBCTA), the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), and Workforce Singapore (WSG) to formalise tripartite support for manpower needs in the baking industry.

One of the key leaders driving the Baker 4.0 initiative is Creative Culinaire Academy helmed by Chef Judy Koh, a veteran of the baking industry who believes strongly in retaining the flavours of tradition while embracing modern techniques and technologies. Chef Judy is assisted by her son, the talented Chef Timothy Chia, founder of the popular Bo Tart with more than 10 years of experience in the F&B industry, and had trained with the US Wheat Association and Grand Moulins de Paris in France.

In 2020, Chef Judy Koh spearheaded the record-breaking Longest Line of Packaged Bread which stands at 60m in the Singapore Book of Records. Over 23 of Singapore’s favourite bakeries participated in producing 7000 wholemeal raisin buns that were donated to Food from the Heart.

In the same year, the inaugural Baker 4.0 Symposium was held at Creative Culinaire, supported by the world-renowned master confectioner, Chef Gunther Koerffer, President of CEBP (Cercle d’Etudes de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie) the European Bakers and Confectioners and President of UIBC (International Union of Bakers and Confectioners), and co-owner of Konditori Artisanal Bread, Chef Richard Or. Together with Chef Judy Koh, the speakers inspired fellow industry professionals with their skilful demonstrations and valuable insight on consumer preferences and how to overcome business challenges.

e2i’s vision is to be the leading organisation to create better solutions for better employment and employability, connecting with workers to offer job security through job matching, career guidance and skills upgrading services, while also partnering with employers to address manpower needs through recruitment, training and job redesign solutions to create better jobs for Singaporeans. 

One such platform that aimed to address employment and recruitment needs was the Baking Symposium 2022 by BELLS Baking Studio held at Lifelong Learning Institute.

As Singapore continues to transition to a COVID-19 resilient nation with the easing of safe management measures, the workers formerly employed as Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDA) will have to be reskilled and redeployed to other sectors. To provide an inside look into the world of professional baking, e2i partnered with Creative Culinaire to conduct several Baker 4.0 Workshops, which included demonstrations, kitchen tours, and sharing by career transitioners. To ensure continuity, Creative Culinaire partners with NTUC Learning Hub to provide top-quality courses that focus on understanding the art and science of baking for bakers of the future.

Baker 4.0 Workshop conducted by Creative Culinaire

A key part of transforming the baking workforce into Baker 4.0 is to nurture the next generation of bakers, who will shape the future of the baking and confectionery industry. 2019 the inaugural Junior Baker Symposium was organised by Creative Culinaire, supported by e2i. This created a platform for industry leaders to inspire young Chefs and bakers, and share insights into the current trends and developments in the industry.

Chef Judy Koh with young bakers Sarah Tan and Nur Adeanty Binte Asmat

This year, with the aim of inspiring and motivating young bakers, Chef Judy Koh lead a team of young bakers, then 15-year-old Sarah Tan and 18-year-old Nur Adeanty Binte Asmat to compete in the 50th UIBC International Competition of Young Bakers held in Berlin, Germany. Team Singapore was the youngest to compete and the event and performed spectacularly, earning them a special commendation for the best croissant produced at the competition.

50th UIBC International Competition of Young Bakers held in Berlin
Judges enjoying the creations of Team Singapore
Team Singapore's Purple Longan and Walnut Sourdough

To raise awareness and showcase the various Baker 4.0 initiatives, the e2i consumer services team partners with several prominent media platforms, visual artists and media producers such as Wine & Dine magazine, Evacomics, Better Together, and one of Singapore’s oldest radio powerhouses Capital 95.8FM.

With strong and meaningful partnerships come sustainable, robust programmes. The wrap of the recent Baker 4.0 Symposium 2020 organised by Creative Culinaire held at Republic Polytechnic, signalled ever so clearly that together with key industry partners, NTUC’s e2i will continue to be the champion for workers, and drive Worker 4.0 initiatives, creating better jobs for better lives, one worker at a time.

For more information, please visit https://e2i.com.sg/

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