Yes! We believe there is a way for every company to engage in a meaningful, mutually beneficial partnership:
- By taking part in a fun corporate volunteering event, where the Young Bakers will teach you how to bake!
- By organizing a sale of SYB baked goods at your office.
- By sponsoring our program or donating needed products in exchange of a customized communication plan as well as opportunities to get involved in the students’ training.
- And many more cooperation opportunities that we would be glad to discuss and create together!
The concept behind SYB was initiated in 2008 by a team of 12 French volunteers who wanted to give back to China and had been inspired by a similar project in Vietnam. The project was officially launched in February 2009, when it welcomed its first batch of students!
The 12 French founders of the SYB project had all been living in Shanghai for many years, when they got together to discuss how to create a charity program that would empower disadvantaged young Chinese. Having heard about a social bakery in Vietnam, they started looking at the bakery market in China and realized that it was booming, notably thanks to the rapid growth of bakeries and 4/5 stars hotels.
However qualified bakers were still lacking, given that no French bakery training existed in China so far. Shanghai Young Bakers was thus created to equip the underprivileged with a skill that is in great need on the job market, thus ensuring that they would find a qualified job upon graduation.
Yes! Although we do not have a physical bakery shop, you can enjoy the delicious breads and pastries baked by the Young Bakers or teachers at weekend markets or by ordering them online or by phone.
To have the Young Bakers baked goods delivered at home weekly or monthly at a discount price: bread and cake baskets
To meet us and taste the students’ products at weekend markets: Markets
To order customized cakes and breads for your next party or corporate event: Catering Offer
During its first year, Shanghai Young Bakers was entirely run by volunteers. As the program grew, it became essential to hire full-time staff to ensure its long-term durability. The program is now led by an Executive director, Charity program Director and Social enterprise Director, supported by volunteers and interns. This management team works closely with the educational team, composed of the bakery and pastry teachers as well as a social educator. All benefit from the precious help of many volunteers!
Although the training takes place in Shanghai, SYB students come from all over China, mostly from rural regions such as Yunnan, Henan or Shaanxi. We chose to base the program in Shanghai as the city offers the most opportunities for bakers, be it for internships in luxury hotels or job opportunities in international restaurants and bakeries.
We do not plan on replicating the program to other cities for the moment, mostly due to our very limited financial and human resources.
As a charity program, we want to keep the training free and hope to empower more and more underprivileged young Chinese. Providing and running such a high quality training for free implies important funding needs. At the moment, most of our financial resources come from our sponsors. Since 2011, we are also self-financed thanks to our social enterprise, whose proceeds fund part of our training program.
Both! Although the program started out as a project of the French Junior Economic Chamber, volunteers from all over the world are now joining their efforts to make the training endure! The management team is comprised of both French and Chinese people.
As a charity program our mission is to offer the training to those who need it the most. We chose to focus on youth aged 17 to 23, as this is a period where they are particularly vulnerable and looking for a new chance, having dropped out of school and many of them working as migrant workers. We also ask that they have basic literacy skills, have no criminal record and are physically and mentally suited for kitchen work.
The students need to be recommended by one of our partner NGOs and are then individually interviewed by the SYB staff.
Given the high quality of our training and the market need for qualified bakers, the Young Bakers have many job opportunities once they graduate, either in Shanghai or closer to their home town. We help them in their transition to the job market by organizing a career fair and putting them in touch with potential recruiters. Most of our students receive 3-4 job offers within 2 weeks after completion of their training!
The training capacity for our one-year training is so far restricted to 32 students. This is due to our limited financial and human resources, as well as our wish to ensure a personalized follow-up of each student. We have thus decided to reserve these spots to those who need it the most, and only accept underprivileged youth recommended by partner charities.
However, we organize one-day to four-days public classes for aspiring bakers or bakery professionals who would like to develop their bakery and pastry skills with our teachers, graduates from a prestigious French bakery and pastry school. Customized training sessions or recipe developments are also available.