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Third generation Barrington Bakery apprentice Tristan Beisler is in his final week of intense practice for the annual national Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre LA Judge Award competiton, on 14 to 16 May.
The TAFE NSW student is the sole NSW representative in the program, run in conjunction with the Baking Association of Australia, vying against other state and New Zealand representatives for the prestigious title of Baking Apprentice of the Year.
With baking an in-demand occupation - employment of bakers and pastry cooks increased by 3.4% over the year to August 2018, above the national average of 2.5% across all occupations* - Tristan will have plenty of opportunities upon completing his apprenticeship in 18 months. Given his employer is his father, who owns a number of baking enterprises across the Hunter, he may have a good chance of holding onto the baking star.
Tristan is juggling his second year of the part-time Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined) course and his work impressively. He attends class at TAFE NSW Hamilton once a week, practices for the competition three times per week and works at the Dungog bakery ‘at least’ five days a week.
He is excited about representing the state at LA Judge Award, his third competition but the first at a national level, saying “I am dead nervous and incredibly humbled, and amazed I was picked over people I see as being more advanced.”
“Since I can remember I have been a part of baking in some way, always helping out at the bakery even before starting to officially work there three or so years ago. I’m the eldest of eight; we’ve all played a part.
“I have always enjoyed baking for myself and others, and always considered food a good industry to get into. I know how hard it is to find good staff, so there’s always employment opportunities. It was a no-brainer. As for my favourite aspect... something my grandad used to say sums it up: you can have a terrible day one day and then the next walk into the bakery and have an incredible day. That’s very appealing.
“I’ve learned a lot at TAFE NSW. It’s a totally different environment to work. I think of it as a lab rather than a hectic industry bakery. Training there is calming in a way. Instead of busting through everything you have time to concentrate on what you’re doing. You reflect and focus on technique, and the teachers are really helpful.”
LA Judge Award competitiors are tested on public speaking, theoretical knowledge and work papers, plus an intense creative bake-off.
This year’s theme is ‘Your Business’, so as part of the competition Tristan is creating a ‘quasi bakery shopfront crafted through inspiration from our Barrington Bakery bread bag logo and design’.
Employer and father, Simon Beisler, says he is very proud of Tristan and thankful to his TAFE NSW teachers.
“My thanks goes to TAFE NSW Hamiton teachers for devoting their time and effort, even outside teaching hours, to Tristan and his brother Kye. We’ve trained in Melbourne and at other TAFEs but they’re nowhere near the excellence of what’s delivered in Newcastle. I’m very grateful for the education my sons have received there. What the TAFE NSW teachers have taught them, has made them successful,” he said.
“TAFE NSW Hamilton teachers keep the subject interesting for their students and keep their attitude in line. They’re the bees knees, the best in Australia. They love what they do, are really interested in the industry. They instill that passion in their students and help them strive to showcasing their skills via competitions.
“I’m hoping to get my daughter to go there soon and my three sons after that. I’d like them all to enter the industry and assist the business, which is growing year by year. I took over the business from my dad and if all my children want to come in there’s plenty of room for them.”
Tristan is also competing in the annual national Excellence in Baking Awards, being held over 4 and 5 June.
TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest training provider, offering over 1,200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital. Visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.
* Dept of Jobs and Small Business report, November 2018