A GROUP of young unemployed people graduated from Diageo’s award-winning ‘Learning for Life’ training programme and are now equipped with the required skills to embark on careers in the hospitality industry and a Cowdenbeath woman is part of the success story.

And a Cowdenbeath business has also played a part in helping the students succeed.

Ten students celebrated completing the six-week training course during a special ceremony at East End Park, in Dunfermline, on Wednesday.

The Diageo Learning for Life: Hospitality and Bartending programme provides young unemployed people with coaching, core employability skills and specialist bartender training, opening the door to a wide range of exciting career opportunities in the Scottish hospitality industry.

A key element of the course is a two-week work placement with some of Fife’s leading hospitality businesses, including The City Hotel, Sweet Chestnut by Marston’s Inns and The Elizabethan, as well as The Tipsy Cow in Kirkcaldy, The Woodside Hotel in Cowdenbeath, and Balgeddie House Hotel and Premier Inn in Glenrothes.

Nicola Reid, Programme Manager, Diageo Learning for Life, Great Britain, congratulated the graduates: “The hospitality industry in Scotland is thriving, and continues to offer excellent career opportunities for young people with passion and drive, which these graduates have in abundance.

“The Diageo Learning for Life programme has provided a solid platform for training and development and we are all looking forward to seeing where this next step takes them, utilising their new found skills and confidence.”

Since its launch in 2014, almost 900 unemployed people have graduated from the Diageo Learning for Life programme, which is offered across Scotland, with over 76% of graduates successfully securing permanent roles in the hospitality sector.

The course is delivered by The Springboard Charity, Diageo’s specialist training partner. Commenting on the recent tranche of graduates, Elaine Muir, Programme Manager for The Springboard Charity in Fife, said: “It has been such a pleasure to work with the young people from Fife. I’m proud of all our graduates and have no doubt that they will be a great asset to any business. They have shown such enthusiasm and commitment to every aspect of the course, securing qualifications and engaging with the wider industry.

“The support we have received from local employers has been fantastic and we really appreciate the time they have given up to encourage these young people to consider a career in the hospitality sector.”

Diageo Learning for Life Graduate, Katrina Strutt (21) from Cowdenbeath, added: “Before I started on the Learning for Life course, I felt lost and was struggling to find work.

"I have learned so much thanks to the programme; it’s not only boosted my confidence but also helped me build on my leadership and people skills.

“It’s been a truly memorable experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their career prospects.”

Our photograph shows Provost Jim Leishman, Mark Baird – Head of Alcohol in Society, Diageo; graduates Ivan Partington, Danny Docherty, Ryan Palmer, Elaine Muir Manager, Springboard; Lee Foy, Jodie Heeps, Katrina Strutt, Kirstie McEwan, Dale Tilley, Jake Scott, Robbie Cuthbert; and Kelly Johnstone - Scotland, North England & Midlands Director, Springboard.