From education to employment



A group of unemployed people from Ayrshire who participated in Diageo’s award-winning Learning for Life training programme are celebrating after completing the six-week training course.

13 students are now equipped with the required skills to embark on careers in the hospitality industry. Their achievements were celebrated during a special ceremony held in Salt & Barrel, Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus on Monday 29 April.

The Diageo Learning for Life: Bartending and Hospitality programme – provided by training partner Ayrshire College – provides students with coaching, core employability skills and specialist bartender training, plus seven industry recognised qualifications, which opens the door to a wide range of exciting hospitality career opportunities in Scotland.

The celebration marks the twentieth Diageo Learning for Life programme to have taken place in association with Ayrshire College since November 2014. As part of their training, the students undertook two weeks of work experience with some of Ayrshire’s leading restaurants, hotels and bars including 7 Saints, Unboxed, The Riverside Lodge, The Tartan Sheep, Oscars, Café @ The Station, and The Park Hotel as well as Ayrshire College, to gain vital on-the-job experience and learn from industry experts.

As part of the training programme the group were treated to an exclusive tour and tasting at Glenkinchie Distillery and attended Diageo Bar Academy which included a cocktail masterclass and lunch at Salt & Barrel training restaurant. Students also visited Corney & Barrow Wine Cellar in Ayr for a talk and a tasting to develop their wine knowledge and were welcomed at Lochgreen (Costley & Costley) for a tour and a talk.

Pauline Scott, Ayrshire College Learner Engagement Officer for Diageo Learning for Life, said: “It’s been wonderful watching our students develop their knowledge, skills and confidence over the last six weeks. They have all worked incredibly hard, and we are happy to celebrate their achievements today.

“We really appreciate the support we have received from local employers – their assistance is really crucial to the success of the course, particularly the time that they have spent encouraging and supporting our students.”

Since its launch in 2014, over 1,300 unemployed people have graduated from the Diageo Learning for Life programme, with 83% of graduates going on to further training or employment and 78% securing long-term employment – a success rate which makes it one of the Scotland’s leading employability schemes.

Nicola Reid, Diageo Learning for Life Programme Manager for Great Britain and Europe, congratulated the graduates: “Our congratulations go to our hardworking Ayrshire College students who are graduating today.

“The Scottish hospitality sector has so many wonderful career opportunities for those with the right skills. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead for these passionate people and wish them every success as they begin their hospitality journey.”

Diageo Learning for Life graduate Donna McMaster (39) from Stevenston adds: “The Diageo Learning for Life course has changed my life and given me confidence to move forward again. I really enjoyed it and the new qualifications I have gained will help me in future when applying for jobs.”

Related Articles