David Dodds – When your career finds you

David’s career as a Plant Baker has been marked by serendipitous events. It began unintentionally when a part time job while he was still at school led to an opportunity to work at Quality Bakers in Auckland.

He started in the weigh-up area. “But I used to watch what the bakers were doing and wish I could do that,” says David. A year later, expanded production and the need for more people gave him the chance to become a mixer operator. He has now completed his Plant Bakery Level 4 apprenticeship and is the lead operator on Plant 2 at Quality Bakers, managing three team members producing speciality loaves.

David says he enjoys the sense of accomplishment when a batch he has mixed comes out well. “I can see it coming past on the conveyer belt. It’s great knowing you’ve made good bread. And I have a good team who I enjoy working with.”

He says time management is always challenging in a plant bakery, with one production run quickly followed by another. A natural problem solver, David’s steady personality means he is comfortable making decisions which can have a big impact. He is also always keen to make improvements to the processes he is involved in.

Speaking of his future, he says, “I would like to learn more about plant management, the planning and the bigger picture behind the smaller processes.”

David has already won a number of other competitions, including the Quality Bakers Apprentice Competition Stage One, and a Technical Training Course Competition where he had to come up with his own loaf of bread. He entered the 2015 Young Bread Baker of the Year Competition alongside a work colleague who went on the win. He is back for more this year, and says he couldn’t have gotten this far without the help of his fellow bakers at Quality Bakers, who have been excellent mentors to him.

David sees bread as a staple food that will always be in demand despite changes in people’s eating habits. “Even though there is more demand for grain loaves and other varieties, the originals like sliced white bread will always be there.”

Outside of work, David enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend, with a bit of swimming, PlayStation and chess thrown in for distraction.