For qualified chartered accountant, Sarah Worrall, the lockdown in March sparked an ‘it’s now or never’ moment. She was working with a high profile multi-national financial company when she decided to take a career break in order to follow her dream. Sarah moved over to Nottinghamshire and is now living in the heart of the rural Welbeck estate as she studies an Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking at The School of Artisan Food. “I had a good financial career – but I wanted to take the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do and am passionate about,” she explained.
“I was working in corporate finance having joined the company as a graduate and been there for six years, but when we went into lockdown, and having had some time to reflect, I decided that if I didn’t make the change now, I would never do it.”
With a business degree under her belt, she always had an idea that she would at some point run her own business and she was keen to work on her family’s dairy farm in Cheshire. Ideas had been bubbling away to help the farm diversify. Sarah initially took part in a short baking course at The School of Artisan Food in the heart of the historic Welbeck estate. From the start, it had her hooked and the 28-year-old began to think about a whole new career change. “I would love to convert the old milking parlour into a bakery at the farm and offer fresh artisan bread and pastries to the local community… It all may change, of course. We’re living in changing times afterall,” she added.
“But what this advanced diploma course is doing is helping me see what my options are. It is giving me the skills and the confidence to back up my plans for the future.”
She’s not on her own for one of her fellow students, Pavan Vadhesha is following a similar path. She too decided that 2020 was the year she was going to take a leap of faith, retrain and switch careers. “Ever since I can remember, I have dreamed of having my own bakery,” says the 25-year-old. “I remember baking biscuits in primary school and I was hooked then.”
Her passion for baking only grew. After school though she went on to study English at university, which led to a career in retail buying and administration in Leicester and her childhood dreams fell by the wayside. In her spare time, she continued experimenting with her baking and was inspired to take part in three short courses at The School of Artisan Food. “I realised then I was in a job that I really didn’t enjoy and I loved the idea of learning more about the technical/science side of baking. I knew I didn’t want to stay on the same path anymore and wanted to follow my dreams,” said Pavan.
Both of them are now enjoying studying and living within the rural estate of Welbeck, where there is an established hub of artisan food producers. In fact, Sarah has already had the opportunity to work with Welbeck Bakehouse, which sits right next door to The School of Artisan Food. She says the experience gained while working with the team of artisan bakers has been invaluable.
The School of Artisan Food offers an Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking as well as Food Business Start-Up courses. Further details about the not-for-profit organisation can be found at www.schoolofartisanfood.org.