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The lockdown experience: Emma’s Bakery



The Pandemic has been a tough time for many of the businesses Swatpro Academy works with.

But despite the hardship, we’ve been thrilled with their resilience – not least their continued commitment to training their staff to the highest levels.

We spoke to Emma Parkin, owner of Exeter’s Boatyard Bakery and Café, who has trained staff with Swatpro Academy’s assistance for some time.


Swatpro Academy: So, how did you find the lockdown, Emma? Are you back open now?

EP: “We never closed! The café area was closed except for takeaway sales of bread, food and coffee.

Trade was very good throughout all the lockdowns, but we also have a wholesale and online operation.”

Swatpro Academy: How do you find working under Covid regulations?

EP: “Hygiene has always been a priority.

“Using facemasks and screens to protect employees and customers hasn’t really made more work. Just makes it harder to hear people!

“Wearing masks or face visors can be hot and uncomfortable, but it’s reassuring for people. Cleaning and sanitising communal areas has always been part of the work routine”.


Swatpro Academy: Are all your staff back now?

EP: “Yes, all furloughed staff came back in the summer of 2020.”

Swatpro Academy: Do have any apprentice staff members working at the moment, and if so, how important are they to your business?

EP: “[We have] one apprentice in the café who has been here nearly two years, another shortly to start in the bakery. They are very important team members.”



Swatpro Academy: How was training for them during the lockdown?

EP: “Online doesn’t appear to have been a problem.”



Swatpro Academy: What benefits do apprentices bring your team? Are you looking to recruit more in the future?

EP: “Being reliable and responsible members of the team. Being able to continue to learn more and get more experience of being in the work environment.

“I’d be more than happy to take on more when possible.”

Swatpro Academy: And finally, how have we helped your business during this time, Emma?

EP: “You’ve been on the end of phone to discuss issues relating to work/apprenticeships as they arise. Swatpro Academy has sorted out a new apprentice to start in the bakery this summer.

“I enjoy working with you and hope you enjoy my loaves!”

The lockdown experience: Emma’s Bakery