Refugee food heritage to showcase in bakery range

Refugee food heritage to showcase in bakery range

Refugee food heritage is to showcase in The Bread & Butter Project’s bakery range, with a unique opportunity for a team member to present their own product and the story behind it in honour of Refugee Week.

The Bread & Butter Project will be hosting a morning tea on Tuesday, June 22, which brings together staff, trainees, past graduates and volunteers to celebrate Refugee Week (June 14-20).

The gathering will provide a unique opportunity for one team member to showcase their food heritage, by giving them the opportunity to bake their own product, before presenting both the product and the recipe, and explaining what it means to them personally, at the morning tea.

Excitingly, the winning product, as selected by the team, will be integrated into the bakery’s wholesale catalogue and launched into The Bread & Butter Project’s product range.

Refugee Week is particularly poignant for the trainees at The Bread & Butter Project, Australia’s first social enterprise bakery, which invests 100 per cent of its profits into training and employment pathways in the baking industry for people seeking refuge and asylum.

This year’s Refugee Week theme—‘Unity’—focusses on building a more cohesive community through the spirit of working together to allow all people to thrive and progress, a sentiment that is close to the hearts of the team behind The Bread & Butter Project, says the program’s Chairperson, Cindy Carpenter.

“We are very committed to improving the refugee and asylum seeker experience in Australia, and we believe a vitally important way of doing this is through the provision of gainful employment and English language skills,” said Ms Carpenter.

“As such, we offer a 6-month paid baker training program that includes completion of a TAFE qualification, hands-on baking training, ESL tutoring and work placements, which has a significant impact in changing the lives of our trainees.

“By comparison, before joining The Bread & Butter Project, our trainees usually tick multiple boxes on the Centre for Policy Development’s indicators of disadvantages in employment, such as metro-based, female, over 45, poor English language skills, and subject to off-shore processing.

“Usually, when we have the opportunity to bring our trainees on board, it is their first paid job in Australia, and they often have no formal qualifications, or have qualifications earned overseas that are not recognised in Australia.”

Since launching in 2013, the program has graduated 55 professional artisan bakers into employment in Australia’s hospitality industry, following a recent graduation in March 2021.

However, Ms Carpenter says the employment outcomes achieved by The Bread & Butter Project are in stark contrast to the typical experience for refugees in Australia.

“The Centre for Policy Development’s Settling Better report identified that three years after arrival, refugees are usually three times less likely to be employed,” she confirmed.

“Indeed, Federal Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge MP, recently confirmed that 38 per cent of refugees remain unemployed in the first three years after their arrival.

“That’s why we’re very proud of the fact that almost all our baker graduates since launch are sustainably employed and have been able to discontinue welfare support, with independent research also showing that 100 per cent of the offspring of our graduates are either in school, university or employment, therefore demonstrating positive intergenerational impact.”

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