A new £16 million production line will create 100 jobs at a top Welsh bakery.
The investment at the fast-growing Jones Village Bakery in Wrexham has been hailed as a major boost for the local economy.
The state-of-the-art equipment is being installed at the family firm’s new 140,000 sq ft bakery on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
According to the company, it will be the most advanced production line in the world and it’s expected to be up and running in July.
The procurement and installation are being masterminded by projects director Christien Jones.
The bespoke 85 metre long line has been configured to the company’s exacting specifications, with most of the equipment coming from a specialist Dutch supplier.
According to Mr Jones, it’s the “perfect marriage” between the latest technology and the traditional craft baking skills for which the company is renowned.
He said: “Essentially, this is a craft bakery line on a larger scale so we still have the influence of the craft master baker but we have taken away the mundane jobs like the lifting and the carrying.
“I don’t believe there’s anything like this in the world at the moment.
“We’ve put a lot of elements together to make the total line which is very special but it’s all about the bread and actually it’s all about slowing bread production down.
“The process, including fermentation, all the way through to our proofing and our baking, means it can take up to 38 hours to make one loaf.
“We’re not using preservatives. We’re using nature’s advantage and we’re getting flavour. The more time we invest, the more flavour and better crusts we get.
“It’s a fantastic combination – an automated version of an artisan bakery with the bread being baked on a bed of Italian marble that’s an inch thick.
“The magic is provided by the skill of our staff. We add value to our products by using hand work by our trained team but there’s no skill in lifting a bakery tray. That’s what we’re trying to take away so it’s more appealing to attract staff going forward.
“The room is air conditioned with the oven being in a separate room so there is no temperature migration.”
Equally excited was his brother Robin, the managing director, who said the staff recruitment process was already underway.
The company is looking to take on 50 staff now and a further 50 next year when a second shift is expected to swing into action.
Training will be provided in the firm’s in-house Baking Academy.
Robin Jones said: “We’re so proud because this is a multi-million pound world class facility and the products that we make with it will change the face of bread making in the UK.
“Christien and his team and the suppliers have worked so hard to enable us to make a wide variety of bread and morning goods products. They have done a brilliant job.
“This fantastic new production line represents a massive investment for us and I’m really delighted with what we’ve developed.
“Our customers are over the moon and I think when it launches in July it’s going to be an absolute gamechanger in the baking world.
“We’re looking to employ another 100 people within the next 12 months.
“For the right people, there are excellent career prospects at the Village Bakery – most of our managers and supervisors are homegrown.
“This is also an exciting time to join our successful team and help us make these amazing products.
“It would be a bonus if applicants have experience working in a bakery but the fundamental requirement is finding people with the right attitude because we can teach them the skills needed to become a first class baker.
“These are good, long-term jobs which will provide a massive boost to the local economy in Wrexham and beyond.”
Anybody who would like to know more should email Jason Page at Recruitment@villagebakery.co.uk