Diageo declares war on hospitality’s ‘chronic skills shortage’




DRINKS giant Diageo has announced a new initiative to address the chronic skills shortage currently gripping the UK hospitality sector.

In a three-year partnership with the Springboard and The Prince’s Trust charities, substantial combined knowledge of the sector will be pooled to drive recruitment via Diageo’s award-winning Learning for Life programme.

The ambition is to support over 3000 people over-18 into hospitality careers – which would at least make a start towards tackling the 400,000 vacancies and 100,000 staff absences reported across the sector, meaning that day-to-day the industry is missing half a million workers; more than a fifth of its total workforce.

Springboard is already the lead delivery partner for Diageo’s Learning for Life programme, which launched in 2012 in the UK to provide training and vocational experience, as well as a route into the hospitality sector for adults. To date, 5374 people have participated in the programme over 362 courses.

This new partnership will extend the existing Learning for Life six-week Bartending and Hospitality Course and recently introduced Hospitality Sprint programme, to include three new delivery models to expand its reach, engagement, and outcomes.

Kate Moore, society manager of Diageo GB, said: “We know the hospitality industry continues to face unprecedented challenges and many communities are struggling when it comes to recruitment. We want to give people the opportunity to kickstart a career in such a vibrant industry. We are excited to be relaunching the programme that directly support participants no matter where they are on their journey to employment.”

Springboard CEO, Chris Gamm, commented: “Hospitality organisations up and down the country will be as delighted as we are to hear that our incredible partnership with Diageo is continuing for a further three years. Learning for Life plays such an important role in turning out skilled and qualified professionals into the industry, futureproofing the talent pipeline for hospitality.”

The Princes Trust will be working with The Prince’s trust to support the delivery of early-stage career training.

Ben Marson, director of partnerships at the Trust, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Springboard for the Diageo Learning for Life programme and believe that during this challenging time for the hospitality sector, we can bring together our collective strengths to support young people into meaningful work in the hospitality sector, and ultimately to build a better future for themselves.”

With a focus on adult education, Learning for Life in the UK has traditionally focused on offering opportunities to unemployed people over 18, with skills programmes covering key areas within the hospitality industry implemented in partnership with local educational, governmental, and training organisations.