A training bakery?
When we visit 6729 Bakery, we wonder why the concept of bakery café and training school have not been combined before. It seems so obvious a solution.
Most registered training organisations (RTO) usually educate within schools or organisations, running certificate and diploma courses and forming partnerships with businesses to place work-based trainees.
In a stroke of brilliance, the General Manager of WTS (Workplace Training Strategies), Amelia Gow, envisaged a different model: Why not have a place to teach students life and employment skills; an operating business where real life experience was gained alongside theoretical knowledge? A ‘one stop shop’!
Amelia put her plan into action and, in May 2016, WTS relocated to premises that had been a bakery for 25 years, founding the 6729 Food Opportunities Academy opposite the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
6729 Bakery is now the school’s headquarters, running ‘in house’ courses for students, as well as providing retail and culinary experience.
WTS runs several courses from the bakery, including an Introduction to Work (aimed at disabled and disadvantaged students), Certificate II & III in Food Processing and a Pre-Apprenticeship course led by mentor Brett Casey, former owner of a Bakers Delight store. More importantly, it’s about life skills, providing support and encouragement to each student, leading them to live better lives.
We visit the café on a weekend morning, eager to find out more about how things work. Greeted by Ella, a former trainee who now manages the bakery and provides retail training for students, we take in the friendly atmosphere, noting how many regulars there are from local businesses.
The café uses Major Tom blend from local award-winning Ground Control coffee, one of the smoothest, most caramelly sweet blends we’ve had in a long time, with an excellent crema. Delicious for every day drinking!
There’s a choice of a range of freshly baked items: pies and pasties from the café’s pastry chefs, egg and bacon rolls ($5) prepared to order, or cakes and biscuits made by students. Christmas and Easter bring out specialty celebratory baked items, such as Christmas cakes and Hot Cross Buns, and there are plans for further lines of food to match food trends.
About fifteen students are enrolled in the six-week hands-on training program, also working and making items to sell in the working bakery.
On successful completion of the program, students graduate with a nationally accredited qualification, receiving support and mentoring through interviews and job trials maximising successful outcomes.
Through partnerships with Gold Coast and Brisbane businesses, such as Norco Milk, Diegos, Brasserie Bread and the Gold Coast and Brisbane Airport authorities, employment opportunities are maximised, the job placement rate when we visited standing at 71%.
The wall of fame shows it all: graduands who have been placed, upcoming job opportunities for graduating students, and students seeking employment, all on show for customers to view.
Jobs, jobs, jobs! That’s the goals are for all their students, from 16 to 65 with a range of abilities.
In the meantime, we’ll be more than happy to return for a mellow coffee and one of those homemade pies! Win win!
1/2711 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach, Ph: 0416 056 729
Open: Mon – Fri 7am – 3pm; Sat 8am – 2pm
NOTE: WTS plans to open a second academy in Southport in June 2018.
Several photos credited to 6729 Bakery.