The steering group tasked with drawing up a new industry-stan-dard foundation skills course for bakery moved to clarify issues surrounding the future of bakery qualifications, following sector skills council Improve’s announcement (BB, pg 6, 14 November) that it would be reforming the structure of qualifications.A baking industry representative steering group had been working to set up the first Natio-nal Skills Academy (NSA) for bakery, which would offer an industry-standard entry-level course to teach a thorough understanding of the baking process for people already in employment. The draft curriculum for the new NSA bakery foundation skills course (years one and two) received unanimous endorsement at the steering group meeting last week, which featured representatives from craft, plant and ingredients industries.The group, Academy ’champions’ Campden BRI and lead college Leeds Thomas Danby, had carried out an analysis of industry needs, arriving at around 12 core product topics.Rachel Combret, representing Warburtons on the steering group explained: “We felt there was real added-value for emp- loyees in the industry in understanding how an ingre-dient such as flour works, not just in bread production but also in pastry, biscuits and cake.”Meanwhile, Improve plans for a radical qualifications reform, which would recognise workplace skills outside the NVQ structure for the first time in 20 years, starting September 2009. Last week, the NSA met with Improve to discuss how the foundation course curriculum might fit within the new Improve qualifications framework.While the Improve modules would be available for employers to pick and choose workplace competency and on-the-job skills development, the NSA foundation course would teach all the fundamental baking skills needed for people to move easily across all sectors of the industry, from craft to in-store and plant.Improve’s development director Derek Williams said: “The new bakery foundation course seems to align well with National Occupational Standards for bakery. The standards will provide modern, fit-for-purpose qualifications to meet employer needs.”The steering group is now analysing the options of how to deliver the curriculum, develop the support and training mate-rials and secure the funding for running the pilot course.
Published on May 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm When the lacrosse season began in February, Jovan Miller was full of uncertainty. Sure, he had confidence in his team, but to say he was completely comfortable would be a stretch.At that time, the junior midfielder didn’t know much about the rest of his midfield crew.‘Up until the first game I had never played with Jeremy (Thompson), so I had no idea what it was going to be like being out there with him,’ Miller said. ‘Me and (Max) Bartig had been competing my first two years here, so that was a bit different.’ Miller was hardly the only one in the dark. Before the first contest, more than two months ago, the biggest question mark facing the Syracuse lacrosse team was its midfield. How was the team going to replace Pat Perritt, Matt Abbott and Dan Hardy? ‘Early on, there were questions,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘To graduate five of our top six offensive middies led to a major question mark about the group.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut 13 games later, that question mark held by outsiders and insiders alike has vanished. Syracuse has lost just one game. It is No. 2 in the national polls as the postseason nears. And five of its top eight point scorers come from the midfield group. Thompson, Bartig, Miller and Josh Amidon headline the unit. It is a list dominated by players who lacked experience coming into the season. But a group that has collectively worked to answer any questions that lingered. ‘All of us have the same mentality,’ Thompson said. ‘We do the extra work and hopefully it will translate over into the games.’This is a long way from where they were just one year ago. Thompson transferred from Onondaga Community College. Bartig played limited minutes in 10 games last season. Amidon played second fiddle to an all-star cast of midfielders. And Miller was more of a defensive enforcer.Now, Amidon leads the group with 25 points on the season. Thompson has 23, Miller has 18 and Bartig has 15 points. ‘It has definitely been surprising for everybody,’ Miller said. Well, not everyone.Last season’s top-scoring midfielder, Dan Hardy, was one of the few people without any questions regarding his replacements. Hardy, who graduated last year, has attended most of the Syracuse games this season and is not surprised at all with how the group has performed.‘They are at Syracuse for a reason,’ said Hardy, who now plays for the Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League.The opportunities have come. And the unit has responded. First, it was the opening game against Denver when Miller, Thompson, Amidon and Bartig all registered a goal. Next, Amidon erupted for five points in a win against Georgetown. Then under the lights against longtime rival Johns Hopkins, Bartig had his day, scoring three goals in a 10-7 win.And on a rainy night when the Orange struggled to find the back of the net against Hobart, Miller put up two goals. Thompson followed that up with a five-point performance against Villanova.‘Someone always seems to step up game to game,’ Desko said.It’s an evolution that Hardy saw in the making last season. Case by case, it was evident. Even though Bartig did not play much through his first three seasons, in practice Hardy saw he had potential. ‘In practice last year, Max was always the guy who would score every time he had the ball,’ Hardy said. ‘We all looked at each other like, ‘When is this going to come out in games?”With Miller, it was all about his love for the game that made him such a dangerous player, Hardy said. For Hardy, he is just another version of Matt Abbott.‘He is the best of all the middies at playing both ways,’ Hardy said. ‘He does it all and filled the shoes of Abbott perfectly.’And Amidon reminded Hardy of himself.Hardy did not have a chance to play at Syracuse with Thompson, but he faced him on the high school circuit.‘I would always wonder how he did some of the things he does,’ Hardy said. ‘… He does everything and makes life easier for the rest of the guys.’And though Miller was unsure how things would go before the season began, Hardy had no doubts. Said Hardy: ‘They play the exact same way we did.’[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
ST. LOUIS >> How did Chase Utley feel about hitting .098 through the first five weeks of this season?“It wasn’t ideal,” the laconic veteran said. “It’s not something you really anticipate. But it is what it is. I’ve been through some funks over the course of my career before. You try to stay positive, try to stick with what you know and what helped make you successful. And hopefully, it turns around.”This funk played out in slow speed. Re-signed to a one-year, $2 million deal by the Dodgers just as spring training was starting, Utley was relegated to role player status with Logan Forsythe expected to get the lion’s share of playing time at second base this year. So Utley started just 13 times in the Dodgers’ first 32 games with 58 plate appearances to get to that .098 average on May 8.That Utley’s worst start came in his first season without every-day at-bats is not a coincidence. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he said when asked to explain the turnaround. “Getting some at-bats helps your timing and getting some hits helps your confidence.“(Now I’m) hitting the ball where they’re not playing. I’m getting good pitches to hit and squaring some balls up, putting some good at-bats together. Having a little success can breed confidence and I’ve always had the opinion that a confident hitter is a good hitter.”Turner updateTurner has increased his activity level the past two days, running the arc of the basepaths and taking batting practice on the field. But Roberts said he believes Turner is still a week away from returning from his hamstring injury and will miss the three-game series with the Washington Nationals that starts next week’s homestand.“We’re still, realistically, a week away from thinking about him being back with us,” Roberts said.AlsoReliever Josh Fields rejoined the Dodgers on Wednesday after staying back at the team hotel Tuesday due to illness. …Outfielder Andre Ethier has still not progressed enough from the herniated disc in his back to include baseball activities as part of his workouts. The issue is his ability to recover without undue pain the day after running as part of his workout. Roberts said he does not expect Ethier to be ready to play until after the All-Star break. …Dodgers’ ownership has valued the team at $2.5 billion during their attempts to sell a minority stake, according to a Bloomberg report citing an anonymous source involved in the potential sale. The Guggenheim Group purchased the Dodgers for $2.15 million in 2012. The Dodgers enlisted Galatioto Sports Partners to broker the sale of a minority stake this winter. No timetable has been set for that sale nor is there any specifics about how large a stake is available. …Former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was given his unconditional release by the Cardinals on Wednesday. Broxton, 32, allowed two runs and four hits in the ninth inning against the Dodgers on Tuesday, raising his ERA for the season to 6.89. Broxton spent the first seven years of his career with the Dodgers, earning 72 saves from 2008-10. “Chase is never going to make an excuse. But it’s something that he’s never done before,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “So to, No. 1, buy in and embrace it and do the best he can is one component. Still after his great career never having done it, it’s a completely different regimen and preparation.“I guess we could go back and look at the first 50 at-bats and there was some consistent playing time in there. I just don’t think his swing was right those first 50 at-bats. Now when you take the fact that his legs are under him, his swing is right mechanically and he’s getting run out there on a consistent basis, that certainly helps his production.”Utley’s playing time increased in May as first Forsythe and more recently Justin Turner went on the disabled list, freeing up at-bats for an extra infielder. Opposing teams have stopped feeding the Dodgers a steady diet of left-handed pitching. That has brought Utley’s bat back to life. Through Wednesday, he has started 17 of the Dodgers’ past 22 games and gone 22 for 60 (.367) with nine extra-base hits (three doubles, three triples and three home runs), 14 RBI, six multi-hit games and a .460 on-base percentage in that time.“I think if you look at the past three weeks, he’s been as good as any player in the National League – the on-base, the production,” Roberts said. “If you throw out those first 50 at-bats, he’s off to a great, great start.”That isn’t allowed. And Utley only partly blames his poor start on the adjustment to being a part-time player. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error