NCTVA hails SONOCO Bread Avenue Academy

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Students of the Bread Avenue Academy

By Alfred Koroma

Analysing the socio-economic benefits of the contribution SONOCO Bread Avenue has made since it began operating in Sierra Leone, the Public Relations Officer of the National Council for Technical Vocational and other Academic Awards (NCTVA), Oladapo Coulson-Olowu said their institution is very much pleased with the work of Bread Avenue.

Accredited by NCTVA,  SONOCO Bread Avenue launched Bread Avenue Academy in January as the central part of the group’s mission in Sierra Leone. The Academy presently has 90 students who are being trained in pastry, baking, and entrepreneurship for more than six months, navigating an intensive curriculum designed to cultivate their culinary skills and entrepreneurial acumen.

“We at NCTVA decided to accredit Bread Avenue because we believe in their contribution to human capital development,” Oladapo told journalists during a meeting with SONOCO, organized to educate the public about the work of the company and the Bread Avenue Academy. “We believe the baking and entrepreneurship skills Bread Avenue is fostering in the students will help the students market themselves and enhance their employability.”

In an interview, Mariatu Jalloh and Emmanuel B Brown, two of the students, narrates their experience and the skill they have acquired since joining Bread Avenue Academy three months ago. 

“I have learned how to mix and prepare Tapalapa bread and other types of bread. That skill will take me a long way,” Jalloh said. Her colleague, Emmanuel reechoed  similarly, saying he has got a very good experience from the Academy and will use his baking skill to open an investment that would create more employment.

The surplus food produced by students going through the training are distributed to mosques and elderly care centres, providing nourishment and comfort to those in need. In an interview, one of the beneficiaries, Imam Mohamed Lamarana Bah of Masjid Fatha commended the food they have been receiving from Bread Avenue, thanking the avenue for coming to their aid during this Ramadan period.

“Bread Avenue has been beneficial to us, he said, “I’m impressed. Their product is very good.”

Speaking at the event, the General Manager for SONOCO, Mr. Mark Pritchard disclosed that the courses offered at the Academy are free and that students are not asked to pay anything.

He said  to ensure Bread Avenue serves more communities and reach more people within the city, the Company is also working to open other Bread Avenues in Aberdeen and Central Freetown.

SONOCO is an established international Guinean company with a rich history spanning multiple sectors including logistics, mining, and industry Company has made significant strides in Guinea and beyond. With a robust investment portfolio stretching into Mali, Liberia, and now Sierra Leone.

 Presently, the Company is spearheading a $50 million investment, marked by the construction of a state-of-the-art flour mill at the port which is slated to complete by the end of 2024. 

Beyond the flour mill project, the SONOCO is also making inroads in the agro sector, with two factories underway in Wellington. The facilities will focus on the production of food items such as pasta and tomato paste, all set to open their doors in 2025, the Company’s General Manager said.

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