One of Bread & Beyond’s star bakers has taken a huge leap forward in his baking career by starting work experience at a family-run bakery.

Prior’s Court young adult Ricardo last month began a weekly work experience at Warings Bakery, which has been providing hand-baked goods to the people of Berkshire since 1932.

Ricardo is supported each week by our Job Coach Laura Parker to access Warings’ central bakery in Spencers Wood where he works with Warings staff to supply the company’s shops in Reading and Thatcham.

The regular work experience opportunity came about after a successful trial visit at the end of May where Ricardo worked well with the Warings team, making 100 Viennese swirls, 40 lemon Swiss rolls and 20 jubilee spongesIn his time at Warings so far, Ricardo has made real progress in making the products look more professional, as he sets about making bulk bakes of up to 300 items at a time. He has also learned more reducing wastage, which is a real difference between practice sessions at Bread & Beyond and working in a commercial setting.

Ricardo has had twice-weekly sessions at Bread & Beyond since 2019 in which time he has developed a huge range of baking skills to the extent he was ready to transfer these skills to a new environment.

The philosophy behind having an industry-standard bakery at Prior’s Court’s site is to make the transition to “real world” working environments less stressful, as has been the case for Ricardo so far.

Laura, bakery job coach who has supported Ricardo during his time at Bread & Beyond, said:

We are incredibly proud of Ricardo and what he is achieving. At a fundamental level, this is exactly what Bread & Beyond was created for – empowering young people from both inside and outside of Prior’s Court with the skills to be bakers, and so changing their lives and future prospects. We are hugely grateful to Warings Bakery for their support in giving Ricardo this chance to show all the skills he has developed in his time at Bread & Beyond. Ricardo is from Reading and so when his time at Prior’s Court comes to an end, having a Berkshire-based work experience provider is really important as it means he has a greater chance of continuing to access this opportunity. We are hugely excited to support Ricardo to continue his development and gaining experience in working with people who are not Prior’s Court staff.

Baking is an activity which suits the strength and skills of people with autism; highly process driven, practical and with an end product which is rewarding and motivating.

Prior’s Court is looking to explore external work placement opportunities for the young bakers of Bread & Beyond and so is keen to hear from bakeries in the West Berkshire and South Oxfordshire areas who would be interested in supporting us. Contact Nickie Dunphy on 07720 212600 or [email protected] if you would like to find out more.

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