Standing up for Canberra

The Chronicle: In defence of bread

Ah, bread. You’ve been much-maligned of late.

When someone’s trying to start up on a low-carb diet, you’re always the first thing dropped off the menu. Then there’s the gluten intolerant, for whom health concerns see bread fall off the proverbial plate. Bread is treated like a boring old staple so often that some restaurants will just put it in front of you while you order your actual, real food.

But there’s another side to bread, and it’s actually pretty remarkable.

Last weekend I had the chance to present a number of awards at the 2016 ActewAGL Royal Canberra Bread Show. Deion Mottram, Matthew Miller, Dean Elliott, David Damour and Lucinda Shiel, who split the pool of the Champion Trophies and Ribbons between them, were great examples and worthy winners.

Looking at all the smiles up there on stage, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that some of those who won awards didn’t have an easy run of it growing up.

Life is tough for all of us sometimes. But for some, the struggles of one’s youth mature into problems you deal with for the rest of your life. For others, there’s a turning point, which takes an at-risk kid off one path and puts them back onto the other.

For some of the winners, vocational education provided that turning point. It says a lot about the value of vocational education and training that after it all, the winners made it there to join me on that stage. I was thrilled.

The training is one thing. And it’s vital, of course. But without their dedication, no amount of education could guarantee their success.

Education doesn’t do the work for you. But if you’re willing to do the work, education can make all the difference.

The transformative power of education was there on show last weekend, in the simple form of flour, water, salt and yeast. And it was delicious.