Students celebrate success at Johnnie Walker Princes Street graduation

DIAGEO’S award-winning bartender training programme, Learning for Life, has celebrated the graduation of fourteen Edinburgh students from its Johnnie Walker Princes Street Learning for Life Academy.

The group have just completed their six-week course, which gave them entry level training in bartending and hospitality, including work experience in local pubs, bars and restaurants.

All participants of this cohort have been offered work placements at top hospitality providers in the city, including Hilton Hotels, Apex Hotels and IHG. One graduate, Callum Cook, has also been offered a role at Johnnie Walker Princes Street itself.

Through Learning for Life, Diageo invests £1m-per-year in offering opportunities to young unemployed people in the UK to get into hospitality careers. Since launching in Scotland in 2014, over 2000 people have graduated from the programme. Across the UK, 82% of participants have gone on to sustained employment.

The Learning for Life course in Edinburgh was delivered by Diageo partner The Springboard Charity, which works closely with Diageo to ensure the highest quality training and experience is delivered to its students.

Danielle Lewis at her Learning For Life graduation

One of this latest crop of Edinburgh graduates, Danielle Lewis, said: “When I came to Springboard I didn’t know what to expect but I have learned a lot during the course about getting into the workplace and through my work placement I have developed skills and experience.

“I was scared when I joined the programme as I didn’t know anyone or anything about the hospitality industry but it has really helped me to grow my confidence and come out my shell.

“I believe I still have more to learn but following my work placement with Sodexo at Diageo’s Edinburgh Park office, I have been offered a permanent job so I’m excited about the future. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me on the course and supported me into my work placement. I’ve really enjoyed this opportunity, thank you.”

Learning for Life Programme Manager in the UK, Gillian Dalziel, said: “Congratulations to all the students that have graduated at Johnnie Walker Princes Street! Throughout each cohort, it is a privilege to see the transformation of our participants. I feel extremely proud of what they have achieved so far and I can’t wait to see what they go on to do in the future.

“Learning for Life plays an important role in giving young people the opportunity to kickstart a career in such a vibrant industry.”

CEO of Springboard, Chris Gamm, said: “We are immensely proud of these 14 Edinburgh students. The Diageo Learning for Life course not only empowers individuals with valuable skills, but also opens doors to promising careers in hospitality, as evidenced by all of the students receiving job offers at top establishments in the city. The partnership between Springboard and Diageo continuously delivers a brighter future for our students.”

To find out more about Diageo Learning for Life – and how to apply – visit: