Vietnam: Celebrating youth growth into professional bakers

Ho Chi Minh City – April 2021 – Seventeen students celebrated their graduation from La Boulangerie Francaise Ho Chi Minh City after 18-month rigorous training. Every year, the bakery school supported by the European Institute of Cooperation and Development (IECD) provides 20 young people from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds with technical and soft skills to be competent bakers and pastry chefs. Despite the challenging economic context due to the Covid-19, 85% of graduates have secured employment.

On April 12, La Boulangerie Française Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) held a Graduation Ceremony for 17 students of Class 2 and 3 on the campus of Thu Duc College of Technology (TDC). Mr. Vincent Floreani, General Consul of France in Ho Chi Minh City, the representatives of the European Institute of Cooperation and Development (IECD), and the school’s partners attended the ceremony to share the special moment with the students, their families, friends, and teachers.

His Excellency Vincent Floreani, French General Consul in Ho Chi Minh City, congratulated the students

Upon graduation and despite the challenging context due to the pandemic, 85% of the students have secured employment in renowned bakeries, chocolate makers, and hotels and resorts. Some hold managerial positions and some started their own business. Hoa, a graduate of Class 2, shared her experience, “We all understand and empathize with one another because we all had a rough start in life. Therefore, each of us is aware of our situations and encourages one another to try our best and never give up no matter how demanding this bakery career is. It is a career of hard work that requires us to wake up before the sun. It also requires us to be patient, meticulous, skillful, and creative.” Hoa is now a Team Leader at Maison Marou,

Tuong, a student of Class 3, also recalled his time at school, “People argue if they should help those in need by giving them the fishing rod or the fish. The school has given us the “fishing rod.” What we have at hand now is a professional skill to ensure not only a stable job but also a promising career. We have also changed our personalities: We are now more outgoing, more confident, more patient, and laugh more often. The school has changed us, changed our fates, and given us a chance to build a brighter future.”

Tuong, a student of Class 3, laughed looking at himself from 2 years ago in the video recap.

La Boulangerie Française-HCMC is a bakery and pastry school established in 2017 thanks to the partnership between Thu Duc College of Technology (TDC) and the European Institute of Cooperation and Development (IECD), with the support of the French Development Agency (AFD). The school provides 18-month training in baking and pastry to disadvantaged young adults to enhance their professional integration by equipping them with technical and soft skills. Every year, about 20 students from vulnerable backgrounds are recruited from all over Vietnam, among whom 60% are women, 20% from ethnic minorities, and 70% from remote areas.

The school also operates sustainably as a social enterprise. It sells high-quality products made by the students to business and individual customers. The commercial activities’ profit, which covers 45% of the local operation costs, is reinvested in the project to cover the students’ food, accommodation, healthcare, and training needs.   

Students of Class 2 and 3 with their volunteer English teachers.