The Premium Bread-Makers Association of Nigeria, (PBAN) has commended the Lagos State Employability Trust Fund (LSETF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Bakery Initiatives Group, Nigeria (BIG) for their efforts, in imparting requisite baking skills on unemployed youths, thereby contributing in bridging the skills gap in the baking industry.
At a Bake-Fair marking the end of an eight-week vocational training in baking and confectionery organised by the BIG, PBAN General Secretary, Keinde Ambali said the scheme has not only helped in reducing unemployment among the youths but has impacted members of the association positively as they now have a crop of well-trained bakers to employ.
The programme was held at a vocational training centre under the auspices of LSETF and UNDP.
Ambali said that one the major challenges confronting member-bakeries in PBAN was the dearth of trained bakers who understand the rudiments of the trade, which is what “this scheme is helping a great deal to solve”.
PBAN, he said, has an Memorandum of Understanding with BIG to absorb the trainees on internship under the scheme and that the feedback the association has received from member-bakeries on the interns has been encouraging.
In his welcome remarks at the Fair, Country Representative/Chief Executive Officer, BIG, Ephraim Mbanaso expressed joy that his company was part of the vocational training put together by LSETF. He noted the programme’s impact to create opportunities for youths to acquire life changing skills that could turn around their fortunes from being unemployed to becoming successful bakery entrepreneurs.
He also called on the LSETF and the UNDP to take a step further for the realisation of the overall goal of the scheme by empowering the scheme’s graduands with proven capability with loans/grants to enable them start their own businesses
Mbanaso noted that two categories of trainees had been identified in the course of the training – those who want to start their own businesses and some who are training to acquire employability skills.
On her part, the Chief Executive, Patiti Consulting, Bisola Dere, commended the graduands for patiently and tenaciously going through the eight-week skill acquisition program.
She expressed satisfaction with the various products exhibited at the Fair, which she said is a testimony that they indeed took the training seriously.
Dere, therefore, charged them to apply their newly acquired skills to better themselves and also impact the society positively in order to fully realise the aims and objectives of the project.
She commended BIG for not only imparting the graduands with very good baking skills as all can see from the products on display at the Fair but for putting the Fair together because it affords the graduands the opportunity of showcasing the skills they recently acquired, thereby boosting their confidence to step into the business world.
The graduands who were full of joy and exuding a sense of fulfilment expressed their appreciation to the various agencies that partnered on the project.