From education to employment


Unemployed people in Inverness are being offered the chance to gain the skills and qualifications needed for a successful career in the hospitality industry, as one of Scotland’s leading employability schemes returns to the Highlands.

Starting on 11 February 2019, the Diageo Learning for Life: Bartending and Hospitality course offers participants six weeks of practical coaching, employability training, industry recognised qualifications and on-the-job experience through invaluable work placements with some of Inverness’ leading hospitality businesses, including the Glen Mhor Hotel and its popular bar and restaurant, Johnny Foxes and The Den, Penta Hotel, Kingsmills Hotel, Mercure Hotel, Premier Inn, The Gunsmith, Scotch and Rye and Snow Goose Restaurant.

Unemployed people from Inverness and the wider area are being encouraged to sign up for the award-winning training programme, which is open to over 18s currently receiving Job Seekers’ Allowance or Universal Credit.

Nicola Reid, Programme Manager, Diageo Learning for Life, Great Britain and Europe, says: “The hospitality industry is continuing to grow, providing many employment opportunities for Diageo Learning for Life: Bartending and Hospitality graduates.

“Our students will get real hands-on experience, while also learning new skills and building their confidence and earning valuable qualifications. I encourage anyone who is interested in a new career to grab this opportunity and use it to your advantage.”

Since its launch in 2014, over 1,200 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 – making it one of Scotland’s most successful training schemes.

The course is delivered by The Springboard Charity, Diageo’s specialist training partner. Inga McVicar, National Programmes Manager for Springboard, said: “The Learning for Life course is an excellent chance for unemployed people to improve their prospects, and to start them on a journey in to a career in hospitality.

“We’re fortunate to receive a lot of support from Inverness employers, who kindly offer work placements and industry visits, which are of real benefit to our participants. It’s really positive for our students to receive such encouragement from local businesses.”

Previous Inverness course graduate Damien Bowden, (22) says: “The Diageo Learning for Life: Bartending and Hospitality course has opened so many doors for me.  It gave me the confidence to pursue my career in hospitality and apply for the HIT scholarship.

“Without this course I honestly don’t know where I would be today.  It has helped me excel in my career and start climbing the management ladder and I am now under consideration for a management scholarship. Even getting through the application and getting an interview has been, in my eyes, a huge achievement and it is all thanks to those at Diageo and Springboard. It has really helped me make a part time job into a career I am proud of – and I don’t see my progression slowing down any time soon.”

The Learning for Life course in Inverness begins in February.

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