THREE hundred young people in Scotland have completed the course, almost three quarters of graduates go into employment, and it is being rolled out to a total of 12 locations across Scotland – the numbers from the inaugural year of Diageo’s Learning for Life programme make for impressive reading.
The global initiative, for which Scotland was selected as the European launchpad, aims to equip young unemployed people with the necessary skills and experience to help them pursue a career in the hospitality industry.
The stats certainly seem to point to success. But it is about much more than the numbers.
Last week I met Ally Stewart (see story on page 6) – one of around a dozen young people to graduate from the ‘pilot’ bartending course early last year.
Not only did Learning for Life equip him with the skills needed to work in the trade, it led to full-time employment in the Glasgow bar in which he completed a work placement.
It seemed to me that the course delivered much more than that, though.
It has fired a passion and enthusiasm for the trade in the graduate; it has helped him focus on a long-term career in the hospitality industry – something he admits he never previously considered; and it has added an enthusiastic, hard-working, trained team member to the pub’s payroll.
It seems it’s a win-win situation, both for the young graduates and for the operators who employ them. Let’s hope many more benefit from the initiative going forward.