Updated: Jul 27
Meet Gareth Morgan, a baking expert with decades of experience. Recently retired from Neath College where he was a full time bakery lecturer, he kindly told FDQ the story of his long and successful career. A career that’s seen lots of successful moments and challenges he’s faced and overcome.
Gareth’s journey in the baking industry
Gareth began his journey in the food industry as an apprentice chef working at the Dolphin hotel in Wales. Within weeks though, an ad for an apprentice baker in a family bakers caught his eye. Although he had no experience in the baking industry, he’d always had a trait of creativity, saying
“The reason why I went down the route of baking was to be creative” Gareth went on to work with the family bakers for 21 years! During this time, he studied at Neath College to achieve his bakery certificate, before studying at Cardiff College for an advanced baker apprenticeship.
During and after Gareth’s apprenticeship, he continued to learn and improve within the cake decorating profession. He designed and made many cakes for weddings and other large scale events, whilst continuing morning production at the bakers. After 21 years with the family bakers, they sadly went into liquidation. Although a challenge for Gareth, afterwards he came across Sweetman’s Bakery, where he’d became manager of the cake decorating department. After 16 years, Sweetman’s Bakery also went into liquidation. Although this was a difficult time it enabled Gareth to re-think his career.
“Although facing liquidation was tough after spending so long at where I’ve worked, I would always be presented with a new opportunity”
That’s when he decided to return to where his journey began. Gareth started teaching in 1987, becoming a full-time bakery lecturer at Neath College. He worked here and taught FDQ’s Level 1 certificate in Food Industry skills, cake decorating and more until he retired just this year.
Life in the Baking Industry
Looking back on his career Gareth recalls his love for the artistic side to baking. The fancy designs Gareth enjoyed creating came with their own difficulties though.
“Back then you had to mix (Icing) from scratch, now you can just go to a shop and get them pre mixed”
Confectionary interested Gareth the most and he loved the idea of developing products, as well as getting involved in new baking trends. Cake decorating is a constantly evolving skill and the industry saw lots of changes over the years. One change was that royal icing was replaced by sugar paste on most of the cakes Gareth produced. And professionally baked and decorated cakes became very desirable – and a lot more expensive,
“When I first started cake decorating, wedding cakes only cost £10”
Innovation was not just in cakes but in savory items too. Gareth added “(Savory products) have made a big change in the industry – used to be sausage rolls and basic pastry products, now there’s a wide range of new additions.”
Gareth’s career highlights
Attending the Guild of Master Bakers dinner at Guildhall in London in 2021 is a special highlight for Gareth,
“It was an honor to be invited, I went up for 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed the evening and experience.”
Gareth also loved attending the Alliance of Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) conference in Blackpool. The event (which continues today) involves talented bakery students showcasing their exciting and sometimes innovative creations in competitions for cake decoration, confectionary and more. Here, Gareth and his students got to experience an awards show, a black tie dinner disco and even get free tickets to the theme park located nearby. In their last outing, his students achieved “7 golds, 1 silver and a best in class” making it a true night to remember for Gareth.
Working alongside FDQ
Throughout his time teaching with Neath College, Gareth says
“FDQ have been fantastic – communication was great – we were always happy with the results” adding “I’m impressed with FDQ and the work they do”.
Gareth intends to spend his retirement quite rightly doing the things he loves. He has taken up many creative such as oil painting and water colours. He also likes taking care of his beloved garden and is a proud member of his Local Historical Society, always looking out for forthcoming events.
From all of us at FDQ,
“Enjoy your well earned retirement Gareth. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you over the last 10 years.”
Gareth Morgan, Baking Expert, -
“I’m fortunate to have the teachings I have had along the way, helping me build my career from the start - now onto a happy retirement”
Find out more about Bakery apprenticeships To find out exactly what’s involved in the bakery apprenticeship and end-point assessment download the Level 2 Baker Standard and assessment plan here.
If you’d like to discuss the bakery end-point assessment or the mandatory qualification, the Bakery Diploma why not call one of our friendly EPA team on 0113 3970 395 or email us at EPA@fdq.org.uk