By Agorua Alfred
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.
General Secretary, PBAN, Keinde Ambali, gave the commendation in Lagos, at a Bake-Fair marking the end of an eight-week vocational training in baking and confectionery by the BIG, – one of the Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) under the auspices of the Lagos State Employability Support Project, the LSETF and the UNDP.
According to Ambali, 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.
He pointed out that one of the major challenges confronting member-bakeries in PBAN was dearth of trained bakers who really understand the rudiments of the trade, which is what this scheme is helping a great deal to solve.
PBAN, he said, has an MOU with BIG to absorb the trainees on internship under the scheme and the feedback the Association has been receiving from member-bakeries on the interns has been very encouraging.
He therefore urged the agencies involved to continue the good work.
Similarly, in his welcome remarks at the Fair, Country Representative/Chief Executive Officer, BIG, Ephraim Mbanaso, expressed joy that his company was part of this vocational training put together by LSETF because of the program’s impact in creating opportunities for youths to acquire life changing skills that can 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 graduands from the training that have proven their capability with loans/grants that can enable them start their own businesses, noting that they have in the course of the training, identified two categories of trainees, those who want to start their own businesses and some who are training to acquire employability skills.
In her own remark, Chief Executive, Patiti Consulting, Bisola Dere, (the lead consultants to LSETF/UNDP on the project) 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 for her is a testimony that they indeed took the training seriously.
She, 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.