“School is has perfect recipe for for tomorrow’s baking and confectionery heroes”
On Monday, February 11, the City of Ekurhuleni was home to a historic opening of an innovative bakery school. The Chipkins Puratos Bakery School, situated within the Masisebenze Secondary School based in Tembisa.
Its aims are to help 25 learners graduate with both a matric certificate and an industry-recognised technical qualification (NQF level 2 in bread and flour confectionery) that effectively prepares them for the next step in their careers.
In a determined effort to change the stars for aspiring bakers and confectioners, Chipkins Puratos, an innovator in the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate industry, has announced an industry first for South Africa, one that sees aspiring students in this space armed with the correct qualifications to change their own lives, as well as those of the people in their communities.
“Bakers are the fourth scarcest skill in in the wholesale and retail sector today,” says Richard Kuppan, the national training manager and spokesperson for the Bakery School South Africa, a non-profit company (NPC).
“In fact, in 2018, the Wholesale & Retail SETA identified bakers and confectioners as scarce resources for the fifth year in a row. However, as bigger retail groups consistently add new stores and as we notice steady growth in informal sectors of small bakeries, we cannot ignore the need for skills in this space.”
Participants that are accepted to attend the two-year course through the Bakery School South Africa will come away with more than practical baking experience, Kuppan says, they will also be skilled in business focus areas like finance and communication.
“Our intentions are to take previously disadvantaged grade 11 learners into a training and upskilling environment, and expose them to theoretical and practical lessons that will ultimately empower them with the skills needed to access real, tangible employment opportunities. At the same time, we will also provide those who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit with the skills needed to begin their journey to self-employment.”
Globally, Puratos has helped open three similar schools with great success – one in India, another in Brazil and a third in Mexico – and the company is expecting similar results here in South Africa.
“The courses have been designed to take pupils beyond basic education and to give them the practical training needed to make a decent living,” notes Kuppan.
“Chipkins Puratos will employ the top graduates at the close of the programme, depending on the needs of the organisation at that time. Generally, at least five of our students will be offered secure employment upon completion with the remaining learners becoming part of a pipeline for customers and partners of the company.”
He goes on to say that projects of this kind are about so much more than employment.
“We realise how important it is to support the up-and-coming bakers of tomorrow, but this programme has far reaching consequences when you consider the socio economic impact that can be realised.”
Having already made use of local contractors in the building of the premises, The Bakery School South Africa will also be providing at least one permanent job opportunity to a member of the community who will assist the school by cleaning and it has also committed to providing training for local bakery businesses.
“Most vitally, 25 students have been enrolled in 2019 on the two-year programme, and, with the addition of 25 students in 2020, we will be transferring skills to 50 students at any given time – all of whom will be better prepared to pursue their passion while enhancing their lives and the lives of those in their communities than if they’d followed more traditional education routes.”