Since its founding in 2009, the Shanghai Young Bakers has successfully trained marginalised Chinese youth in the science and art of French bakery and pastry. Each year, the SYB team selects a group of students aged seventeen to twenty-three to participate in its year-long programme. As of 2017, over 200 students have graduated from the SYB programme and many have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the baking industry.
Overall, many SYB graduates have found success in their baking careers. Their expertise is much appreciated by the ever-growing Chinese market for baked goods, as evidenced by the number of prestigious international hotels and bakeries in Shanghai that employ them. The following is a representative list of the hotels that SYB graduates work at Grand Mercure, Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental, JW Marriott, Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Peninsula, Radisson, Renaissance, Royal Meridien, Pudong Kerry Hotel, Sofitel Hyland, and Waldorf Astoria. Similarly, many SYB graduates enjoy successful careers at some of Shanghai’s most famous bakeries and pastry shops, which include: Baker and Spice, Bread ETC, Brioche Dorée, House of Flour (HoF), Pantry’s Best, and Sunflour Bakery & Café.
Salary-wise, SYB graduates earn between 2600 and 3500 RMB per month in their first job after graduation. These figures do not account for the fact that some graduates also receive compensation for room and board from their employers.
Each year, the SYB team contacts the graduates to follow up on their respective personal and professional situations. SYB also organises events and classes in which SYB graduates have the opportunity to reconnect with one another, meet graduates from different years, and cultivate a long-lasting and close-knit SYB community. Previous graduates have returned to teach baking classes in the SYB programme, mentor up-and-coming young bakers, and share their own experiences and stories.
You can read more about their stories here