Preparing young people for real jobs in bakeries

Caritas Linz
Country of Implementation
Western Europe
In cooperation with
Bakery Gragger
First published

Gragger, a bakery in Upper Austria and Caritas have organized "Backma's", a project that provides vocational on-the-job training for adolescents with disabilities. Under the supervision of mentors, the apprentices acquire practical skills in the production of pastries in a full-fledged working bakery in the town of Linz.

Solution details


Wolfgang SCHEIDL
“Backma’s provides an opportunity for persons with disabilities – and all disadvantaged persons in general – to acquire the professional qualification needed to find a job in the open labour market.” Ms. Eva-Maria Rechberger, Caritas Linz

Problems Targeted

Adolescents with disabilities face many difficulties when it comes to entering the open labour market. Some lack skills in spelling or mathematics or are not mature enough to start regular work. After finishing school, these young people need support to engage in further education so they can go on to hold regular jobs, as work is an important factor for social inclusion.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

The vocational training is conducted in a bakery in Bioholzofenbäckerei GmbH Gragger in Ansfelden (province of Upper Austria). Initially, six persons with disabilities were educated and trained, but today Caritas provides ten apprenticeships. Three trainers are supporting the trainees to ensure sustainable and quality training: two are responsible for professional competences and one for social expertise. Acquiring an apprenticeship certificate or a partial qualification is the main goal of the project. Notably, there is no cost to the bakery because the project employs the trainees just as it does the three trainers. As such, the relationship is a good deal for the bakery; and in return, the trainees are part of a real working business and get the chance to demonstrate their skills in the open labour market. The adolescents are also encouraged to be self-advocates and to express their wishes and concerns to the bakery manager, as necessary. The project partner produces only biological goods and emphasizes sustainability. Being responsible and protecting, the environment is one of the important values that are also taught within the training. Caritas Linz is running similar projects with a local supermarket chain.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

Because of the success of the project, there is a plan to transfer the concept internationally. Furthermore, the Linz bakery has designed a special energy-efficient oven that operates without electricity and gas, which thus meets the needs of countries (especially emerging nations) with high energy costs. Construction on a bakery in Senegal, for example, started in September 2015.


Life Story


“I’ve just finished my partial qualification as a baker!”

My name is Thomas Mayrhofer and I am 21 years old. After leaving secondary school with special educational needs, I did not know what next to do. However, a job-coach who was supporting my further career recommended that I join a project called “Technical Workshop” provided by Caritas. At the workshop I had the chance to gain skills in woodworking, metalworking, painting, and bicycle repair. At the same time, I also had the opportunity to participate in internships within various companies. In this way I came into contact with the bakery of Mr. Gragger and the project “BACKma’s.” After two years and ten month at the technical workshop, I got an apprenticeship contract from Caritas for becoming a baker.
My trainers gave me a lot of support, both in school and in practice. The greatest challenge was the theoretical part of the apprenticeship, but in practices I was quickly doing well. One trainer in particular taught me many important things about being a baker. During my training period I was living in a Caritas shelter, which was first fully assisted and then partly assisted. Furthermore, I had the chance to earn a driving license at the “Barrier-Free” school – a driving school especially for persons with disabilities. After three years at BACKma’s, I successfully finished my partial qualification as a baker in September 2015. Still, it is not easy for me to get a job. I recently had an interview, and now I am in a trial month supported by the Public Employment Service. My new boss told me that he is willing to hire me. I hope everything goes well.

Related information


Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation


Region of Implementation