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Old 21.06.2016, 23:59
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Baking Questions

Hello again, all. Asking a couple of questions for BakerGrl who is currently busy with school and work.

As her name suggests she is a Baker by trade. She's worked in various store and catering jobs for years and is presently going through a school program to get a Pastry and Baking degree. She's got her sanitation certificate and such already.

One of her biggest questions is whether she'll be able to find work. She'd be able to get a residence permit and the Swiss Embassy says the she would be able, as a spouse of an EU citizen, to get employed. However we both have only beginner German and we don't expect to gain fluency any faster than the average person. With Baking being such a customer facing industry we're not sure how easy it would be for her without German.

We've thought about apprenticeships as well, which she'd be thrilled for, but from what we've been able to find that seems to be a route primarily for people fresh from school.

We know there are a few other bakers here so if anyone can share some advice or experience we'd appreciate it.
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Old 22.06.2016, 00:20
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Re: Baking Questions

Apprenticeships are in theory open to anyone.... but you* need to find a 'Master' willing to take you on for the duration of the course:which is usually 3-4 years depending on the subject.
Age isn't necessarily a handicap, but the lack of at least one national language is... and a serious one at that; an apprentice spends several days a week in college as well as the more traditional 'learning on the job' so it's unlikely you'll find anyone willing to accept you as an apprentice. It's a huge investment of time and resources for everyone, not just the apprentice.

*you as in 'the apprentice'.
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Old 22.06.2016, 01:35
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Re: Baking Questions

Due to the odd working-hours, baking apprenticeships aren't really that sought after. Also, there are a lot of drop-outs. Motivation is apparently a big problem.
If you can show to the master-craftsman, that you really want it and you are prepared to go the extra mile (be there first, leave last, always give a helping hand, never just stand there watching people work, have a super-clean work-place etc. - stuff like that), they'll overlook a lot of language-issues (I imagine - and that's what I get from reading the local newspaper). Because, ultimately for them, the product (and the presentation) counts, and that you get work done and not hang onto your smartphone all the time.

But of course, that does not do anything to complete the courses at the college.
Those are in German only.

These look like some of the exams.

Also, the salary is rather low - it's assumed that the apprentice still living at his/her parents' place - or that the parents pay for some/most costs of living.

Maybe it's a good idea to collect the domain-specific vocabulary and translate/memorize that first.
The literature is rather expensive, though:

You can try looking for German meetups in your area. Based on a quick google-search, there should be some. There's no replacement for exposure to native speakers.
I tried looking for a decent cooking-show in German on youtube, but most stuff there seems to be absolute trash.

Good luck.
Hopefully you two will make it over the pond and we can try her work at some point ;-)
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Old 22.06.2016, 07:57
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Re: Baking Questions

If she's already got a degree in baking and pastry, perhaps the college requirement would be somewhat different?
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Old 22.06.2016, 13:16
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Re: Baking Questions

My youngest daughter is currently training to be a baker-confectioner and will start her 2nd year of training in August....so shoot me a PM if you need more info, than what I am going to write down here.

Age is not a problem, my 2 other daughters both trained as chefs and both had a person over 40 in their class at vocational school.

But the language is a BIG problem!! Because as an apprentice you will have to attend school as well.

You see, in CH the vocational training, also called dual training, is such that an apprentice works 4 days a week in the trade and visits vocational school once a week for the theory stuff.

Additionally, per training year, they also have between 2-3 block courses lasting a week, where they focus on a specific topic related to the trade.

Salary is roughly (before the mandatory deductions) first year 700CHF, 2nd year 800 and third 1000CHF.....the trade is separated into two specialised directions, one is baker-confectioner, as my daughter trains as, meaning they primarily make bread and larger baked goods as well as some sweet pastry work and the other is confectioner-confiseur, those specialise more in the way of chocolate and sugar work, pralines and such delicate stuff. Both basic trainings last three years, with the option of adding the other training module for a further two year.....so that means, if my daughter would want to add the confectioner -confiseur training too, she would have to add two more years of training and voc. school.

In her case, she will go down the path of a so called BERUFSMATUR, after her voc. training ends,she'll study part time a further two years and will finish with a federal vocational baccalaureate.

Also, depending on your employer, some pay your professional clothes/shoes and school material, some don't...it is NOT MANDATORY for a an employer to pay for this.
We have a special deal with the boss of my girl, if she finishes training with a grade above 5 he'll repay all the costs...he he he...she is on course to finish 5.7 in her first year already.....he may well start to save up.

Working hours also depend on bakery and boss, my daughter for example starts year 1 at 4am, year 2 at 3 am and year 3 1am, however some of her class mates already start at 1 or 2 am and will do so during the entire three years.

So you see age is no problem to start an apprenticeship here. If the knowledge your wife has already gained is sufficient, there might be a chance as a beginning to work as "stagiaire" in a bakery ( but it is very lowly paid) , there she could also better her language skills on the job.

There is also a 2 year vocational training possible, called EBA (Eidgenössisches Berufsattest), this is more basic than the three year training and not as detailed, but also offers the possibility to later on add more training years to become a fully qualified EFZ (Eidgenössisches Fähikeitszeugnis) baker-confectioner

Last but not least....especially around the Expat strongholds, Zurich, Zug, Basel and Geneva, I know of a few Expats who have started their own bakery business,wedding cake and or cupcakes makers and what not in this line of work. So there might also be a possibility for your wife to start work...downside is, obviously the language skills won't be furthered with an english speaking boss.

Have i answered your questions satisfactorily?? If not, don't hesitate to ask again!
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