Diageo expands training scheme

New retail course follows the success of on-trade programme

• Peter Lederer (centre) with Daljit Singh of the Prince’s Trust and Susan Morrison, general manager of the Scotch Whisky Experience.

DIAGEO has hailed the Scottish arm of its Learning for Life programme as a success after extending the scheme to include whisky retail training.

Learning for Life, a scheme to teach work and life skills to unemployed young people, is a global initiative for Diageo. Recently, the scheme welcomed its 100,000th trainee.
The Scottish arm of the programme was launched in February with the introduction of courses in bartending and hospitality. So far, around two hundred people have completed the training, many of whom are now in full-time jobs.
Peter Lederer, a director of Diageo in Scotland, and who is heading the Scottish programme, told SLTN the scheme is not just about providing employment.
He said: “Sometimes the difficulties these young people have are not just about getting a job, it’s about their personal lives, what’s happening at home or whatever. So it’s trying to help with those issues.”
Each of the trainees participating in the scheme is appointed a mentor within Diageo, who they can turn to for help throughout the course and after.
“That’s really important for some of these people because they don’t always have people they can turn to,” said Lederer.
“In my day I could turn to my father for help, but not everybody has that. So the mentor is really important, so the trainee can talk to somebody before an interview, about their CV or how they should write a letter to get a job or whatever. It’s a very important part of it.”
The most recent course, created in conjunction with the Prince’s Trust and delivered by the Scotch Whisky Experience, covers basic knowledge of the whisky category as well as retail skills such as sales and customer service.
Fifteen young people from Edinburgh are participating in the first course.
Further training courses, on manufacturing and entrepreneurship, are planned for later in the year.