Like us on Facebook

  • 11 September 2019

2013 Apprentice of the Year Morgan Clementson interview

Why did you choose a VET course in Bakery almost seven years ago?

In life, I feel it’s important to find a career that makes you happy and inspires you to better yourself.

I was at a point in my life when I was working in the automotive field, and even though I had a prestigious job, I felt I wasn’t getting where I needed to be professionally.

So I looked back on my working career and I asked myself where I was the happiest.

And to be honest, it was when I used to work at a small bakery in Glen Innes when I was quite young.

So I explored my options, and before you know it, I was starting my first night shift at Woolworths Tahmoor as an apprentice baker.

At the time everyone thought I was crazy, but looking back I am happy that I ignored the negativity and applied myself to a trade.

It may have been quite unconventional for a female, especially at the age of 27, but sometimes you need to go against the grain to find your inner happiness.

After winning the 2013 Apprentice of the Year Award, your career has flourished internationally. What is it that you do at Puratos?

I remember that in my NSW Training Awards interview I was asked why they should choose me as the winner.

My response was that it was the professional platform that I needed to spring me to the next chapter of my career.  Little did I know it would spring me over to Belgium, and in turn, all over the globe.

I am now an International Technical Advisor for Bakery. I provide support to our customers in over 127 countries worldwide. I am invited to give demonstrations, visit customers and give in-house training to local technical advisors.

It is a role that I never imagined. It takes me from large industrial bakeries around the size of 20 football fields in the US to small artisan bakeries in the desert regions of Iran.

Puratos is a large supplier of high-quality ingredients for bakery, patisserie and chocolate. It is a Belgian family-owned company that is celebrating 100 years of operation.

Morgan Clementson composite

Favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of the job is that I am in a role that allows me to grow professionally and personally every day. I work in an industry that is growing at a very rapid rate and the advancements in baking technology are astounding.

In my role, I am lucky to have the opportunity to meet people from all ages, religions and cultures, experience the food in each country and, best of all, bake with some of the most talented professionals in my field.

The role is very demanding as I must uphold the highest level of support to our customers. It pushes me and drives me each day to grow both as a baker and as a person.

Not one day is the same in my role, so that is also a major highlight of the job.

What has been the best place you have travelled due to work, and why?

That is a tough question. Each country has its uniqueness and ability to surprise me with its wonder and beauty.

Italy is one of the most memorable places I’ve visited. The Italians are very passionate about gastronomy and well, life in general. They have a strong food culture and an even stronger bread culture. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Altamura, a small village in the southern region of Puglia where they produce the famous Altamura bread.

Its DOP (protected designation of origin) protected and is baked in very-old wood fire ovens and has a very special sourdough based made from semolina durum flour.

I have also had the opportunity to bake in many other regions in Italy, such as Napoli, Bari, Rimini and Torino.

Having Sky News come to film my demonstrations was very memorable for me.

Coming from Australia where we have a fast-growing “foodie” culture but lack a lot of the history and “specialties of the region” in bread, it’s eye-opening to visit a country like Italy and feel how important bread is in their day to day life.

Not to mention when we think pizza, we think Italy. When we think focaccia and ciabatta we think Italy.

For me these are some of my favourite recipes to bake and share so I would have to say Italy is really like nowhere else in this world.

How do you think VET shaped you into the person you are today?

I am a firm believer that we need to keep learning to keep the mind alive.

I remember someone telling me at a very young age that knowledge is power and is what you need to be successful in whatever path you choose to follow.

Having completed many VET courses in areas such as human resources, business management, automotive, IT and believe it or not even ceramics, I was able to develop my skills professionally and by doing so, substantially improving my self-esteem.

When I completed the bakery and pastry training at TAFE, I gave my all to get the best results. It taught me that diligence and dedication could catapult you into a life you’ve only dreamed. I have been fortunate enough to be guided by many of my teachers and those in the VET sector. Without their support I don’t believe that I would be where I am today (which is Estonia of all places)

Growing up as a teenager, I was unsure of my capabilities and what direction my life would take.

Having had quite a troubled school experience due to an unbalanced home and school life, my self-worth was never where it needed to be to see where I wanted to go in life.

By achieving what I have so far through VET, I was able to find the self-respect and self-worth that was missing and also share it openly with those around me. VET gave me the right life tools, positive attitude and of course, qualifications to be able to live the beautiful life that I do.

What is next for you?

Every day is a new challenge.  My next challenge brings me home to Australia after five years in Europe. I’m the new Sourdough Ambassador for Australasia, Middle East and Africa.

It is a new role developed to help grow our business in these regions. I will be travelling most of the time but will hopefully find some time to enjoy my family and friends. I’m even home for my first summer Christmas in many years.

Beyond this new role, I hope to be able to have more time to mentor and share my passion with the new rising superstars of the industry.

It will be nice to be able to bring my skills and expertise of different breads from around the world and better enrich the Australian bread culture while enjoying some well overdue sunshine!