Mrs. Hwande Martha is from Guma local government area of Benue State.
She is a Theatre Arts graduate from Benue State university.
Now a professional chef, she said being a graduate does not exclude one from doing other legitimate business that would make him or her earn a living and live a successful life.
Hwande, in this interview with DOOSUUR IWAMBE, advises those searching for white-collar jobs to acquire skills that will make them relevant to their communities and the society in general.
Why did you quit your career as an administrator to opt for a lesser job?
After working as an administrative officer, I relocated to Abuja. I was tired of waiting and hoping for a white color job and decided to use the skills I had to earn a living.
Way before now, I used to bake in the university as well as braid women hair to earn extra cash as a student.
I hated asking my parents for money so I to engaged myself in baking and braiding to take care of myself.
What challenges do you encounter as a professional chef?
The challenges are being a professional chef is enormous. Asides having the love for what I do I had to undergo a professional training to make me stand out. As you all know, this involves money.
One will also need money to enable them have catering utensils. Most people would want to work with branded names, people who have made a mark so getting jobs for startups like us has not been easy.
Others would want to underpay you for services rendered. We also have the challenges of setting up as regards space or renting.
However, my joy has always been the smile and satisfaction people get when they eat my food.
I see myself as a global brand promoting African/local dishes and transferring knowledge about food to the younger ones.
Your advice for young people especially those that see white collar jobs as a bane for success.
The days where white colar employment was seen as a yardstick for success has declined over the years due to competition and lack of jobs.
Acquisition of skill where one can make a living for will never go out of fashion. It has always been the best and will remain the best.
Therefore, the young ones and anyone willing to take a leap of faith should do so and learn a skill.
Being a graduate does not exclude one from involving in any other legitimate business that would make him or her to earn a living and live a successful life.
Rather, engaging in skills acquisition will further impact positively on the economic well being.
Instead of waiting on the government to provide jobs, I will advise those searching for white-collar jobs to acquire skills in various vocations that would make them relevant to their communities and the society in general.
Many youths are unemployed today, because they believe they must work in offices, and so they are searching endlessly for white-collar jobs.
There is nothing wrong in looking for jobs in offices, but the reality is that the jobs are no more there.
Our youths should explore many opportunities outside the formal setting, instead of remaining unemployed, looking for what is not sure.
The good thing about being an entrepreneur is that you are your own boss.
Aside being the boss, you also create opportunity for others.
For example, even the less privileged without a formal education can learn and become the best they can be. Also, be passionate about anything you want to do.
It is never late. I always tell women especially to have something to offer.
In a cultural dominated environment of ours, what you bring to the table matters.
This is why the Igbo man and the Hausa will teach their children the skill of trade at an early age giving them exposure to knowledge in finance and accounting and thereby creating wealth without the four walls of an office.
How was the early beginning like?
I started with the little had. Starting small helps you to learn and understand the journey.
One must not start big. I have also learnt how to save from my jobs in order to get other required materials.
I have also find a way of giving back to the younger ones and widows in spite of the fact that I am not where I want to be yet.
I empower young widows to earn a living by teaching them how to make little snacks for sale.
Starting will whatever you have no matter how little helps in building and making you stronger as you grow.
How do you intend to stand out in the cooking business?
My plan is to break into the already existing world of culinary using local food. I am an indigene of Benue state and been the food basket of the nation, we are blessed with rich local food, which can be the base of continental dishes.
In addition, my plans in the near future will be on healthy diet and lifestyles. This could be achieve by educating people on healthy eating and benefits of certain foods.
As you all know, many Nigerians are suffering from hypertension and diabetes.
Healthy diet and lifestyle is the only alternative to curb this growing menace. I also intend to bring closer to the people existing cultures in food and its dynamics.
African is very versatile in everything and food is one of its breaking heights I look forward to harnessing of African dishes to the global world.