The Tánaiste – Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister – Joan Burton was on Diageo’s St. James’s Gate site in Dublin recently to present the second intake of Learning for Life participants with certificates to mark their graduation from the training programme. Some 47 graduates and more than 100 family members and invited guests from the hospitality, education and training sectors gathered in Brewhouse No. 3. The standing room only event was MC’d by Ireland CR Director Liam Reid.
Peter Obrien, Corporate Relations Director for Western Europe, conveyed the message that the hospitality sector is a vibrant and important part of the Irish economy and he welcomed the graduates to the industry.
The Tánaiste grew up in the shadow of the brewery and now heads up the Department of Social Protection as well as leading Ireland’s Labour Party, the Government’s junior coalition partner. She praised the spirit and determination shown by the Learning for Life graduates. Having participated as guest of honour in last year’s graduation ceremony she also reflected on the successes and expansion of the programme over the past year. And she highlighted last weekend’s celebrations in pubs and venues across the country following the passing of the referendum on same sex marriage. She recognised the vibrancy of the hospitality industry as a provider of employment and also its role in helping to celebrate life’s great moments.
Ireland CSR champion Angela Smith received an extended ovation from the Learning for Life participants for her work with them. And one of last year’s intake Aaron Carey took part as guest speaker. He gave an honest and well-received speech about how he has found work and grown in confidence since taking part in Learning for Life.
The Learning for Life programme in Ireland equips long term unemployed young people, living in the communities around Diageo’s operations, with the skills needed to find work in the hospitality industry. The programme puts participants through an intensive seven week training course. It then provides an opportunity to take up a further work placement with one of Diageo’s hospitality industry partners in a landmark pub, hotel or restaurant. So far Learning for Life has had participants from the areas surrounding St James’s Gate in Dublin and from Belfast. Thanks to support from Colin O’Brien, Aidan Crowe and the International Supply Centre, this year there are also participants from Dundalk, where Diageo ceased brewing in 2013.
Check out the video below to discover what Learning for Life means to some of the participants – and to their families.