From education to employment

Former Burton and South Derbyshire College student rises to the challenge with successful bakery

A former Catering student at Burton and South Derbyshire College has shown she’s got the skills and commitment to succeed in the industry with the continued success of her bakery and tea room.

Tracey Heap who runs Summerhouse Bakery in Burton Market Hall studied Catering at the College back in 1983. After leaving college, she went on to enjoy a varied career in the catering and hospitality industry before finally following her dream to open up her own business in 2014.

As Burton and South Derbyshire College celebrates its 70th anniversary, Tracey reflected on her own college days: “It was the best two years of my life! I got to work in both the kitchen and restaurant which was great experience for my future career. In the summer holiday, we also had the chance to go to army camp and cater for the officers there. It was a brilliant insight into the type of work you could do in the industry.”

Tracey’s business has expanded over the years and she has a loyal customer base that return for the unique atmosphere and freshly baked food. Tracey commented: “I never imagined the business would be so popular but it has grown so much over the years. I’ve got some great staff supporting me and I’m proud to say we get a lot of repeat customers. We make everything on the premises and offer our customers a unique atmosphere and experience.”

As the business has developed, Tracey has continued her relationship with the College, including taking on apprentices and students on work experience. She said: “I think it’s important to help young people starting out in the industry. Tyra, one of our bakers, has now passed her apprenticeship and has been taken on as a permanent member of staff. She can do everything now and works well in the fast-paced environment. I think college gives young people the type of confidence they don’t get at school.”

Former apprentice and now full time baker, Tyra added: “The people I work with at Summerhouse Bakery have all been really friendly and welcoming. I started with zero confidence but working here and being part of the team has helped me to build my confidence up. I’m so pleased to have now completed my apprenticeship and be offered a job as a baker; I’m really enjoying it!”

Tracey is passionate about encouraging current students to work hard and follow their dreams. She said: “Baking has always been my passion and to have my own business is a dream come true. I would encourage young people to get a variety of work experience in the industry. All of the experiences I’ve had in my career have helped me get to where I am now.”

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