Baker – National Occupational Analysis (NOA)
The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Baker.
Occupational Analyses Series
Disponible en français sous le titre : Boulanger-pâtissier/boulangère-pâtissière
Designation Year: 1991
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Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Baker
Use this self-assessment tool (PDF, 848 KB) to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.
“Baker” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by bakers whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:
Bakers prepare products such as fermented goods, cookies, quick breads, pastries, cakes, chocolates, confections and frozen desserts. They may be employed in bakeries, supermarkets, catering companies, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, institutional facilities or may be selfemployed. Types of bakeries include wholesale, retail, in-store and specialty establishments.
Bakers may produce a wide variety of healthy baked goods. They may also specialize in certain types of products such as breads, pastries or confections. They prepare doughs and batters for baked goods according to formulas. Bakers use mechanized and non-mechanized tools and equipment such as measuring devices, different types of pans, and weight scales in the production of baked goods. Some tools and equipment are digital or computerized. They use bakery equipment such as ovens, fryers, mixers, dough handling equipment, fridges and freezers. They are responsible for maintaining their tools and equipment in a clean, safe and sanitary manner.
The work environment for this trade is clean and sanitary. However, depending on the work performed, a baker can expect to be exposed to hot or cold environments. Bakery products are produced seven days a week. There can be a variety of shifts available that might appeal to an individual baker.
Key attributes for people entering this trade are physical stamina, strong work ethic, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and creativity. They must also have a commitment to sanitation, nutrition and ongoing learning. Some hazards in this trade are burns, respiratory illness, repetitive strain and injuries from heavy lifting.
The baker trade may have some similarities or overlaps with the work of cooks.
Bakers may be involved in several business aspects of the profession such as inventory control, product development, production scheduling, purchasing, costing and recycling. Through their work they develop an in-depth knowledge of food science and bakery product nutrition. Experienced bakers may use the skills they develop in this trade to work in sales and marketing, teaching, product research and development, and bakery management.
For consumers, there is a greater variety of specialized products than ever before. In response to this market need, there are more specialty bakeries that may specialize in niche products such as macarons, chocolate and ice cream. The trend for some bakers to specialize continues in areas such as single-serve items, and wedding and special occasion theme cakes. Consumer demand for artisan baking has increased exponentially and has become a mainstream product.
Convenience products and parbaked goods are commonly used in large scale food operations where time and budget constraints are a factor. Frozen desserts are not as prevalent as other trends have taken over such as house-made ice-creams and gelatos.
This market homogenization has created opportunities for bakers to provide healthy, unique alternatives using both traditional and innovative baking methods. There is increased importance being placed on artistic creativity in baking, plating and presentation.
Health-related issues and diet requirements have become increasingly important to the baking trade and the food manufacturing industry. Consumer health concerns in all demographics regarding food allergies and sensitivities, diabetes, heart health and sodium content are becoming more common. Due to these concerns and customer perceptions there is an increase in the use of ingredients such as organics, omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, oats, soy and gluten free. More often bakers are required to manage information and respond to customer inquiries related to the nutritional aspects of products and where the ingredients come from. Increasingly bakers are required to be aware of cultural diversity, practices and protocols such as Kosher, Halal and how it relates to preparation of ingredients, handling and baking techniques.
Some new equipment includes mobile communication tools, freezing torches, silicone moulds and labelling equipment. Bakers may use software or online tools to do product research, do nutritional analysis or acquire new skills.
Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.
Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.
A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:
- understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
- learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
- improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.
The tools are available online or for order at: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/les/index.shtml
The essential skills profile for the baker trade indicates that the most important essential skills are reading, document use and oral communication. Experts attending the NOA workshop indicated that numeracy and working with others are also important skills.
The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile.
Bakers require strong reading skills to refer to recipe and formulation instructions, techniques, product labels, memos and bulletins, task instructions, outstanding work from employers, special orders, equipment malfunctions and supply deliveries. Bakers also need to consult various organizations, such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Authorities for food handling and food importing regulations as well as industry publications for enhancing their knowledge.
Bakers must be comfortable scanning product labels for warnings, entering data into label templates and locating data in recipes and formulations, lists and tables. They work with production sheets, bake orders, and tracking and quality control forms.
Writing skills are used by bakers to write brief notes in production logs, training forms, health and safety forms, and comments on recipes and formulations, bake orders and production sheets. When required they may write menus, memos or bulletins.
Bakers require good oral communication and customer service skills. They discuss baking supplies with suppliers, baking order details and nutritional information with customers, and current work assignments and products with co-workers. Bakers interact with apprentices to teach them the trade of baking.
Bakers are required to have numeracy skills to calculate portions and ingredient quantities when modifying recipes and formulations, and measurements when using weigh scales and thermometers. They may calculate nutritional information for customers. Bakers do costing, maintain inventories, do scheduling and estimate time to complete baking tasks.
Bakers identify ways to modify recipes and formulations, choose items for specials, and select decorating styles and appropriate equipment needed. The ability to problem solve is required in situations such as when there are not enough baking supplies, recipes and formulations do not turn out as expected or there are customer special requests for orders. Bakers have the ability to manage several tasks simultaneously.
Working with Others
Bakers work in coordination with others to prepare, bake, assemble and decorate baked goods. They are required to participate in discussions about work processes and offer suggestions for improving those processes.
Bakers often use the Internet to browse websites devoted to baking topics for ideas, inspiration and nutritional information. The computer is used as a tool to perform ordering, recipe and nutrition management, and inventory control. They may search for information about products and equipment at suppliers' websites. Digital cameras and imaging equipment are used in cake decorating as well as marketing and sales.
Bakers need to learn continuously to keep abreast of new food and taste trends, to research new products and to improve their baking techniques. They learn through their daily work experiences, by observing other bakers, and by reading cookbooks, websites and industry publications. In addition, they may attend baking competitions, baking seminars and courses.
The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.
Special acknowledgement is extended to the following representatives from the trade who attended a national workshop to develop the previous edition of this NOA in 2011:
- Anne Marie Peters - Prince Edward Island
- Barbara O’Hara - Manitoba
- Bettina Schormann - Ontario
- Brian Hinton - Baking Association of Canada
- Jack Kuyer - British Columbia
- Mitchell McNutt - Nova Scotia
- Roch Desjardins - Quebec
- Stephanie Holt - Newfoundland and Labrador
This 2015 edition of the NOA was reviewed, updated and validated by industry representatives from across Canada to ensure that it continues to represent the skills and knowledge required in this trade. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division of ESDC. The host jurisdiction of Ontario also participated in the development of this NOA.
Comments or questions about National Occupational Analyses may be forwarded to:
Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0J9