Nelson baker continuing family trade


19 August 2016

For baking graduate Matthew Watson, becoming a baker is in his blood. A qualified baker at Quality Bakers Nelson, the 24-year-old is following in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps who were also bakers. They encouraged him to take on a baking apprenticeship.

“I started my apprenticeship in 2011 after a gap year in Australia. I was working at Walter Findlay Ltd when my manager saw I had potential and offered me an apprenticeship,” Matthew says.

“I stayed at Walter Findlay for a year, before doing the remainder of my apprenticeship at Goodman Fielder.”

Completing his apprenticeship last year, Matthew believes on-the-job training is the best way to learn and earn.

“I think that on-job training is successful because it allows the apprentice to work alongside professionals that have experience in the industry,” he says.

“I was lucky to be working for Goodman Fielder during my apprenticeship. It’s such a large company with specialists in many different fields. A large majority of them were willing to pass on their knowledge to help further my learning, and they helped me realise my possible career options.”

Matthew is currently involved in a project at work focussing on production waste. The project required managers and supervisors to identify areas within their processes that were responsible for excessive waste.

“I discovered that if our pastry heads were cut at a shorter length during the extrusion process, the resulting difference in head shape would reduce scrap pastry by 40%. In order to get my co-workers to identify that the change in pastry head shape would result in a waste reduction, I was required to lead by example in order to demonstrate my vision and the viability of my idea,” he says.

“I found that the best way to create a greater sense of ownership was to set up a score board. By converting the waste weight and percentage into a dollar figure, I was able to show my co-workers what the cost of the waste was to our company.”

It’s this line of thinking that has seen Matthew progress in the business.

“At the moment I’m a qualified baker, but I’m also working on a few projects with management. I’m hoping to work my way up into a management position one day.”

Matthew’s advice to his younger self?

“Keep your head down, work hard, listen, and don’t give up when things get hard.”

Matthew is a Got a Trade? Got it Made! Future Business Leader.

Got a Trade? Got it Made! is a national campaign to raise awareness of on-the-job training and careers in New Zealand's trades and services. It also celebrates the talents and achievements of young people making headway in their chosen vocation.

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