First London Learning For Life Hospitality and Bartending students graduate

Last week the first cohort of students from the London pilot of the Learning for Life Hospitality and Bartending course celebrated the completion of the course with a graduation ceremony at Diageo’s Global HQ in Park Royal, London.


bartender making drinks

The young people, all from the surrounding areas of Diageo’s HQ, were joined by friends and family, charity training partner Springboard, placement providers and Diageo staff to celebrate their achievement.

Over the last six weeks the students have taken part in the course which has already transformed the lives of over 100,000 people in 35 countries worldwide. The course prepared the young people for work in the hospitality industry with a mix of technical and vocational qualifications, industry visits and soft skills development (for example CV writing and confidence building). This was followed by a two-week work placement in a London pub or bar, organised by Perceptions Group, and then a guaranteed interview with a local employer.

At the graduation ceremony, students talked about their experiences of the course, as well as their aspirations for the future. Graduates include:

Tom, 24, from Hounslow

Tom has been unemployed since September 2014, having left his last job at a pharmaceutical company due to stress.

Tom found out about the Learning for Life course whilst doing work experience at Ealing Jobcentre. Two weeks into his placement the Springboard staff came in to interview candidates for the scheme. Although Tom was not on the list of interviewees he asked if the team would consider interviewing him as well. He came across really well and the team quickly realised he was a great candidate for the course.

“When you are a customer in a pub or restaurant, you don’t appreciate how much work goes on behind the bar and all the skills required to work there. I think the hospitality industry is a great career option for me – you can progress quicker and there are more opportunities than in a lot of other industries. I’ve got a much clearer picture of where life could take me having completed the course.”


Alex, 18, from West London

Alex was referred to the Diageo Learning for Life Course via the St Giles Trust gangs project as he had fallen in with the wrong crowd. Prior to the course, Alex dropped out of college and worked as a painter and decorator and on a market stall in Portobello Road. He has always liked the idea of working in a pub, as he hopes to own his own pub one day.

“One of the best aspects of the course has been forming a bond with the other students. We’ve all got on really well and supported each other through the course and our work placements. I love interacting with people, learning new things and working hard – so a career in the hospitality industry feels perfect for me. One day I’d like to own my own pub, and this course has been a big a step towards that aspiration.”


Andrew Cowan, Country Director of Diageo GB, said: “Unemployment amongst young adults is a difficult issue for London, but London also has one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing hospitality sectors in the world, with fantastic opportunities for young people with the right skills.

“I am very proud that Diageo has played a part in giving these remarkable young Londoners the skills to thrive in an industry we are so passionate about. Any pub or bar in London would be lucky to have one of these 14 amongst their staff!”