Great British Bake Off 2017 - is an image overhaul a bad thing? | EEF

Great British Bake Off 2017 - is an image overhaul a bad thing? #GBBO

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The Great British Bake Off is back!

Today is not just the 29th August, neither is it the first day back after Bank Holiday. No, today is the day when the Great British Bake Off 2017 kicks off #GBBO!


Nerves vs Excitement

Of course, it’s Mary Berry no more as the #GBBO is moving to Channel 4. Mary has gone, as have Sue and Mel. I'm not going to lie, as someone who views Mary Berry as a national treasure, I'm nervous. What if it’s just not as good as before?


But should I feel nervous? Should I expect an epic failure due to the big move to Channel 4 and new faces of Sandy, Noel and Prue?

Is an image overhaul really a bad thing?

Is an image overhaul really a bad thing? After all overhaul image is something we talk about a lot in manufacturing (that's right this is still a manufacturing related blog!)

Until the Great British Bake Off baking wasn't really considered cool or creative and definitely not something young people were massively keen to get involved with.

Now, series after series we see at least one token young person join the GBBO masses, such as Martha and John and who could forget our amazing aerospace engineer Andrew, from last year, who regular blog readers will remember we put our full support towards….


Oh how I loved the rotating pies…baking engineering at its very best.

Young people in particular are concerned with image, which is probably why we struggle to attract them into manufacturing. Perceptions of low pay, dirty jobs, and remedial tasks, is probably the reason why despite manufacturers having job openings, they cannot fill them for lack of applicants.

Getting to know a bit more about me

I was thinking back to the days I undertook cooking/baking in school but our school decided to call it food technology. It's actually one of my only two GCS A* s along with French voulez-vous essayer un gâteau? However, I am definitely not #GBBO worthy.

But even back then I was worried about my own image and baking. When we had to bake at school we had to go home and ask our parents to stock up on all the necessary ingredients and then bring them into school the next day. This for me was not fun.

Not because I disliked baking. No. Because my mum made me take all my ingredients in a wicker basket, when everyone else took theirs in a plastic bag. I used to throw such a tantrum that my dad would eventually cave and when dropping up at school would swap the basket for a plastic bag, put the basket in the car and then when he came to pick us up would then put our baked goods in the basket (sorry Mum).


Yet now, carrying your baked goods in a wicker basket may be seen as quite cool, a bit retro. (Mum back to be being right again)

The point is, times and image change

The manufacturing industry is getting a huge image overhaul in the form of the 4th industrial revolution – robots, cobots and digital technologies has made it more exciting  than ever before.

It’s even more amazing then Paul’s bread lion!


And we aren’t afraid to show that off, we aren’t afraid that change may switch people to another channel (or industry). In fact, we think the time is now that manufacturing will be appealing to young people.

The power of TV

The only problem is, we struggle to showcase it in all its glory. TV has the power to change behaviours and change perceptions. We’ve previously blogged on the need to have an Engineering X Factor – so if Simon Cowell and Sir James Dyson are reading this – get in touch.

Imagine seeing the hordes of people queuing up for manufacturing and engineering jobs as they do the X Factor.

We’ve made some inroads. Inside the Factory gives us a sneaky peaky at what happens inside a manufacturing factory to produce some of our home favourites. I learnt how quickly robots to fill a box of chocolates and don’t even get me started on the Easter eggs….


But we’ve only just scratched the surface, programmes like this only give a glimpse of life inside the exciting and innovative world of manufacturing.  

We’ve had a massive image overhaul, we now need the audience.

Don't do an Iain #BakedAlaskaGate

So before we seal the same fate of the new Great British Bake Off to that of Ian’s Baked Alaska…


…maybe we should give it a chance? After all, that’s all manufacturing employers ask of young people.


Head of Education & Skills Policy

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