Stuart McMillan MSP, Maddie Davidson, Learning for Life graduate and David Cutter, President of Global Supply and Procurement, Diageo

Members of the Scottish Parliament came together yesterday (Tuesday 5 September) to raise a toast to a ground-breaking programme which has given 1,000 young unemployed Scots life-changing training and job opportunities in the hospitality industry.

The award-winning Diageo Learning for Life programme has not only reached 1,000 people since its launch in 2014, it has seen 81% of its graduates go on to further training or employment, with 78% securing long-term employment – a success rate which makes it one of Scotland and the UK’s leading employability schemes.

The success of Diageo Learning for Life was celebrated by MSPs, graduates of the programme and hospitality industry leaders at a special event in the Scottish Parliament.

Hosted the celebration and paying tribute to the success of the Learning for Life programme and its graduates,

Stuart McMillan, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde said: “The hospitality sector in Scotland is thriving and there are excellent career opportunities available to young people who have the required skills and experience, something which can be gained in abundance during the Diageo Learning for Life courses.

“I attended the Inverclyde graduation last year and know local graduates have successfully found employment as a result of this first class opportunity.

The programme enables young people to develop their future prospects and embark on a new career in hospitality and it’s great to celebrate the success and achievements to date.”

David Cutter, Diageo’s President of Global Supply and Procurement, said: “The Diageo Learning for Life programme is one of our proudest achievements in Scotland because of the transformational impact it has on the lives of young people.

“We have reached 1,000 people, equipping them with the confidence and skills to build careers and lives in the hospitality industry, and making a real different to communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

“We couldn’t have achieved all of that without the commitment and enthusiasm of our partners throughout the hospitality industry and we share this celebration with all of them.”

A graduate of the Diageo Learning for Life programme in Glasgow who has gone on to become Bar Manager at Gin71 in Glasgow and to compete in global bartending competitions, reflected on his experience.

David Craig, said: “It felt fantastic to come straight out of the course, into a full time job and then go on to compete in International competitions like World Gin Day. I would encourage anyone interested in hospitality to find out more about the Diageo Learning for Life courses on offer in their area. After just three days on the programme, I knew that I wanted to build a career in the industry.”

Diageo Learning for Life graduates Christopher Letford Maddie Davidson and Liam HamillDiageo has invested £5million in the Learning for Life programme and since it launched in January 2014, the programme has delivered 80 bartending courses in 19 different locations around Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Paisley, Oban, Inverness, Perth, Dumfries and Stirling.

The bartender programme takes young unemployed people and puts them through a four week course of coaching, core employability skills and specialist bartender training, followed by a two week work placement in the hospitality sector.

The Diageo Learning for Life programme is delivered by specialist training partners The Springboard Charity and Ayrshire College.

As well as the bartender programme, Diageo Learning for Life provides funding support for Career Ready, giving work placements and career mentorship to S5 and S6 school pupils throughout Scotland.

About DIAGEO: A global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, beer and wine categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO).

THE SPRINGBOARD CHARITY: Now in its 26th year, it helps young, the unemployed and those facing barriers into sustainable employment within the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry.

Springboard provides a range of opportunities for sustainable employment, or vibrant careers in hospitality, leisure and tourism through;

  • Free specialist careers information
  • Taster work experience opportunities
  • Development programmes to help maximise the chances of obtaining sustainable employment
  • Pre-employment and mentoring programmes
  • Educational teaching resources, information, support and student activities to teachers in schools and colleges

Springboard equips people with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential.

Springboard also works closely with the industry to help attract more talent and address skills shortages. In doing so, it has the support of over 180 different industry establishments and suppliers.

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