Diageo unveils training initiative

New scheme aims to prepare young people for hospitality careers

Peter Lederer
• Peter Lederer (second left) and Damien Yeates with two of the students.

By Gillian McKenzie

A NEW training initiative launched by drinks giant Diageo aims to equip young unemployed people in Scotland with the skills needed to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.

Learning for Life Scotland was unveiled by the Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker owner in Glasgow’s Corinthian venue last month as the first group of 12 young people prepared to graduate from the bartending and hospitality course.
The programme, which will go on to focus on the retail and manufacturing sectors as well as entrepreneurship, combines technical training and work-based experiences to cover topics ranging from product knowledge to customer service; participants will also receive advice in areas such as CV preparation and interview skills, and be assigned a mentor to offer informal advice once the training is complete.
Diageo will work with the trade, Skills Development Scotland and charity Springboard UK to select young people to take part in the scheme in Scotland, which is the first European country in which the global initiative has been launched.
It said Learning for Life Scotland aims to create opportunities for at least 200 newly-trained graduates to work in the hospitality sector in roles available as a result of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles – and beyond.
Speaking to SLTN at the launch of Learning for Life Scotland, Peter Lederer, a director of Diageo in Scotland and chairman of Gleneagles who is leading the programme, said the timing of the initiative could not have been better.
“There’s no question that 2014 presents a huge opportunity for the hospitality industry,” he said.
“The aim is to get people ready for work in the hospitality sector, equipping them not only with the skills to do the job but the life skills and confidence to get a job. Often that can be a barrier to employment for young people.”
Skills Development Scotland chief Damien Yeates said the initiative is “exactly the type of support young people need”.