Here's a Sweet Resolution for 2012

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If a new business or career is in the stars for you, consider the world of chocolate says Ecole Chocolat

Our goal is to make sure students know exactly what they are getting into before they start their business.

Getting more education or a better job are among the top 10 New Year's resolutions for many people, according to the website. And those who are looking to launch themselves into a new career or business could do worse than to consider chocolate as an option, according to Pam Williams, founder of Ecole Chocolat, Professional School of Chocolate Arts.

According to Packaged Facts, a market research group, U.S. sales of chocolate are expected to exceed $19 billion in 2014, up from $16 billion in 2006. And the biggest growth area will be in the premium chocolate sector, says a Packaged Fact report titled Chocolate Market in the US: Trends and Opportunities in Premium, Gourmet and Mass Chocolate Products.

January is the month many of us put our resolutions into action, something Ecole Chocolat's Pam Williams has experienced in her online professional chocolate making school that enrolls students from around the world. "We do see an increase in registrations for our January session of the Professional Chocolatier Program. I find that people who have been thinking about getting into the chocolate business tend to start thinking more seriously as they start a new year of their life."

Ecole Chocolat is an online school offering professional chocolatier, chocolate-making, business plan and other in-depth programs for those considering a premium-chocolate career. The school starts its 2012 sessions of professional programs this month with anticipation of a global group of enthusiastic students, says Williams, herself a professional chocolatier and educator by training.

The school is also on trend with the growing demand for online education, which has been on an upward trajectory this past decade and continues to grow as a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional centres of learning. "The rate of growth in online enrollments is 10 times that of the rate in all higher education" says Elaine Allen, co-author of the Sloan Consortium report Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011. "While growth rates have declined somewhat from previous years, we see no evidence that a dramatic slowdown in online enrollments is on the horizon," Allen notes in the report.

Ecole Chocolat graduate Barbara Fox, of Chocolate Fox Chocolatier in Oregon, says she has been a "strong believer" in online learning and found the school through Google. She signed up with Ecole Chocolat to learn chocolatier skills and then qualify for the school's masters programs, which took her to Switzerland and France. "The programs online provide a firm grounding in the chocolate business and the advantage was that you could work at it as you had the time," Fox says.

"I would absolutely recommend these programs to anyone" wanting to get started in the chocolate business, Fox says. And because contact is only a mouse click away, "one of the things I most appreciate is that I continue to have a relationship with Pam and the school," she adds.

For would-be chocolatiers, Ecole Chocolat's online programs offer flexibility and "are intensive — you'll spend anywhere from 50 - 120 hours in our online programs — and the curriculums are robust, containing anywhere from 75 – 122 learning activities to make sure our students develop the expertise they need," says Williams. "Our goal is to make sure they know exactly what they are getting into before they start their business. The programs are affordable and students can learn without having to re-engineer their private or work life."

The keys to a successful premium-chocolate career are preparation and planning, says Joanne Mogridge, master chocolatier and owner of Cocoa West Chocolatier in British Columbia. "To become a chocolate professional you must learn every aspect of chocolate, be open to using all of your senses. To open a chocolate business, have a business plan," says Mogridge, who spent several years working for a top chocolatier and took an intensive business venture program before launching her own business nine years ago. Mogridge, whose passion is for the artistry of chocolate, notes that "the chocolate part is the easy part. It's the business part of the business that is challenging."

Founded in 2003, Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts offers a portfolio of programs for chocolate making — mastering techniques while gaining the expertise and business knowledge needed to become a professional chocolatier or chocolate maker. Ecole Chocolat’s founder Pam Williams is the recipient of the Award of Excellence in Service to the Industry from the Fine Chocolate Industry Association. See our website:


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