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.

11 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 Thursday 29 November.

The Diageo Learning for Life: Hospitality and Bartending 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 eighteenth 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 Ayrshire College, Brigg O ’Doon, The Goldberry Inn, Scruffy Duffys and The Old Loans Inn 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.

Pauline Scott, Ayrshire College Learner Engagement Officer for Diageo Learning for Life, said:

“Our Ayrshire College students in Kilmarnock have been working incredibly hard for the last six weeks, we are delighted to celebrate their success. It has been wonderful for us to see the students develop not only their knowledge and skills, but also their confidence.

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

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 – 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:

“The Scottish hospitality sector is growing rapidly, offering many excellent career opportunities for these graduates, and giving them a chance to secure gainful employment in the future.

“We are all excited to see what lies ahead for these passionate and hardworking people and wish them every success as they build a career in hospitality.”

Diageo Learning for Life graduate Russell Abercrombie (31) from Newmilns spoke on behalf of the group at the graduation ceremony. He said:

“I start work at The Park Hotel tomorrow which I could never have done without the new skills, qualifications and confidence that the course has given me. “

Any local businesses or industry experts looking to support future Diageo Learning for Life courses, by providing work placements, industry visits, guest speakers or training sessions, should email Pauline Scott, Ayrshire College Learner Engagement Officer for Diageo Learning for Life, or call on 01292 293512.

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