Home Education Royal Spices Academy Graduates Chefs, Food Entrepreneurs, Others In Ibadan

Royal Spices Academy Graduates Chefs, Food Entrepreneurs, Others In Ibadan


An Ibadan-based school of catering and hospitality management, producing professional chefs, personnel and entrepreneurs in the food industry, Royal Spices Academy, last Thursday unleashed their first set of alumni to the world.

Beaming with smiles, with family and relatives on hand to share in their joy, the 23 graduates, who were the institution’s first set, were awarded diplomas and certificates in various departments like culinary, pastry and finger foods, cake making and sugar crafts as well as mixology.

This was after they had successfully completed the rigorous theoretical and practical training at the academy, which is located at 20 Oluyole Industrial Estate, 7up Road, Ibadan.

At World Lylies Event centre behind Queens College, Apata Ibadan, the rector and chief executive officer of the academy, Dr. Mrs. Olufunmi Adegbile, while addressing guests, revealed that the company started in 1991.

“Royal Spices Company took off in 1991 with a well-defined vision/mission which was to change the face of providing food and food-related services. Emphasis was on quality food and quality presentation of the meal. Hitherto, both the service providers as well as the consuming public seemed satisfied with the basic provision of cooked meals presented plainly without frills or fancy.”

This is just as she pointed out that the need to do things differently from others led to the conceptualization of an educational institution, hence the birth of Royal Spices Academy.

“With time the educationist in the visioner of Royal Spices had to find expression, and the urge to do something different from the rest of the crowd led to the conceptualization of an educational institution that will provide well-trained personnel that will serve , in a qualitative way, the high end of the catering sector.”

Adegbile also promised that the institute was ready to contribute its quota to the economy by training youths to become employers of labour.

“Royal Spices Academy is poised to contribute her own quota to the Nigerian economy and society by preparing willing youths to become professionals in the culinary arts, to become employable on the one hand, and to become employers of labour themselves.”

Giving a keynote address, Professor Tunji Olaopa, Executive Vice Chairman,  Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), explained that youth unemployment places the Nigerian government within a serious paradox.

Olaopa, who is a retired federal permanent secretary, explained that “The good news about the Nigerian socioeconomic situation is that the Nigerian state is demographically prepared for development. The fact that Nigeria’s median population is 18.4 years of age highlights two significant points. The first is that Nigeria is in the prime of her youth bulge. This means that the Nigerian population framework is youthful. The second point is that this demographic fact ought to be the dynamic that stimulate policy intelligence from the Nigerian state in a way that harness this youth bulge into a significant productivity workforce.

“Unfortunately, successive Nigerian governments have not adequately taken advantage of this socioeconomic opportunity. And this is established by the glaring statistics of approximately 52.65% of Nigerian youths who are unemployed. We do not even have the figure of those who have been swallowed up in the informal sector in semi-employment, and even the vast millions who are unemployable.

“So many factors and variables explain Nigeria’s unemployment dilemma. I will mention a few. First, Nigeria’s higher education dynamics is the first culprit as it enables a curriculum crisis which truncates what ought to be a smooth school-to-work transition.

“Second, here is a critical dearth in the industrial skill needs including areas of current and emerging skills shortages and competencies paraded by products of colleges and universities in Nigeria.

“Third, there is a low level of enterprise-based training and investment going by international standards.

“Fourth, there is changing structure of labour market’s due to changing global flexible employment practices, work patterns, globalization of HR that has formalized the institutionalization of brain drain and the level of competitiveness defining career growth.

“Fifth, there is a demographic change and high population growth rates which throw up two contradictory trends of ageing workforce with attendant organizational amnesia on the hand and challenge of equipping the restless youthful but nomadic new generation workforce with adaptive and multi-skilling flexibilities. And last, there are also critical issues of the availability of jobs and employments, and their capacity to employ.

“This is due largely to the uncomplimentary ease of doing business profile of Nigeria. On the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index for 2018, Nigeria ranked 146 out of a total of 190 countries.

“More significantly, we are witnessing a failure in policy and implementation that has failed to impact the way we conceive of education and the capacities it confers on the youths and the nation. This failure in policy results from fundamental absence of a cultural adjustment programme and a loss of value orientation that have failed to direct the educational philosophy for performance and productivity. Thus, for example, the 6-3-3-4 educational framework is grounded on a solid background that ensures not only certificates but capacities. With this system, it was guaranteed that a student will achieve self-reliant functionality when he or she finally graduates and enters the labor markets. Vocational and entrepreneurial education was central to the conception of the 6-3-3-4 framework.”

The Awe-born administrator, would later explain that “The Nigerian business and entrepreneurial space is an incredibly creative and rugged one filled with all types of innovative and smart ideas and frameworks: Co-Creation Hub, Paga, Jobberman, Bellanaija, WeCycler. And there are youth in significant number making waves in e-Commerce, real estate, agricultural-business, fast moving consumer goods, food processing, waste management, to name just a few.

“What do all these add up to for the aspiring youths, especially those who are still in the universities and the vocational institutes? Essentially, there is a need for a large dose of enlarged consciousness and self-education. There are several things that are not yet in place for the government to handle the issue of capacity utilization and human capital development required to transform the socioeconomic situation undermining the vocational and entrepreneurial capacities of the youths.

“There are the curricula of universities that are grossly disconnected from the competence and skill requirements of Nigeria. There is the infrastructural deficit which the Nigerian government is seriously engaging.

“The business environment needs to become more friendly for business and entrepreneurial insights and innovation. Until all these are appropriately resolved, the youths must develop a coping strategy that comes from the understanding that whatever certificates they hold or are about to receive must be upgraded vocationally.”

As panacea, Olaopa remarked that “There are two levels of solution to the issue of unemployment in Nigeria. One is state-based, and the other is individual-based. On the part of the Nigerian government, all the necessary frameworks with regard to employment and education are in place. The National Policy on Education and such agencies as the ITF, NDE, SMEDAN, etc. constitute crucial institutional dynamics around which the task of ameliorating unemployment can be achieved.

“The challenge has always been how to implement the strategies for making vocational and entrepreneurial education and training efficient and institutionalize as an veritable employment model. Nigeria also has the opportunity to strengthen its national training policies in line with global frameworks and regional peculiarities. There is also the serious issue of the informal sector and how its formalization could be enhanced by the Nigerian state. This, if appropriately done, makes it possible for the semi-employed youths to take advantage of the numerous government initiatives to boost their businesses and enterprises.

“Finally, since the NYSC services thousands of Nigerian youth annually, there is a huge responsibility on the government to transform both the vision and operation framework of this structure to prepare Nigerian graduates for the employment markets.

“On the other hand, the vocational and entrepreneurial spirits are essentially individual. While the Nigerian government is still making enormous efforts to transform its business environment, the individual Nigerian is saddled with the responsibility of surviving and making sense of environment.

“The first and most fundamental recommendation in this sense is for youths to critically study the lives and business model and acumen of successful Nigerian entrepreneurs and vocational mentors. And we have so many of them, from Dangote, Tayo Oviosu of Paga, Ayodeji Adewunmi of Jobberman, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola of WeCycler, to Linda Ikeji.

“One, how did these vocationalists and entrepreneurs manage to successfully navigate the treacherous path that leads from start-up to break-even and sustainability, and then finally to break-through? Two, how do these success stories manage failures, set-backs and even successes? And three, what is the place of spirituality and faith in their success stories.

“The second fundamental solution framework is for as many youths as possible to explore the numerous entrepreneurial grants and opportunities that are available from government and private individuals and organisations. This range from the Bank of Industry programme to the numerous Foundations like the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme, even as these are bound to be drops of water into an ocean of a problem. The same logic applies to exploring opportunities of vocational training, from the Industrial Training Fund to the Lagos State Skill Acquisition Center.

“The global world today is one that requires any aspiring individuals, especially, to find a unique relationship between certificate and vocation in the attempt to find a niche in the competitive world. It is indeed the responsibility of states like Nigeria to facilitate how their educational framework would become one in which individuals can enable their own empowerment through an entrepreneurial and vocational training which the state itself tries as much as possible to make possible.”

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