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How they did it: Diageo Ireland

Guinness Storehouse in Dublin has been recognised over the years as an award-winning tourist attraction, and this week its Open Gate Brewery served as the location for presenting awards to graduates who trained at the Guinness Storehouse as part of Diageo Ireland's Learning for Life initiative. The initiative, run in partnership with the Department of Social Protection, equips the long term unemployed with the skills and experience needed to find work in the hospitality industry, and is a key measure in Government's Pathways to Work strategy.

Since its pilot project in Dublin 8 in 2014, Learning for Life has grown and has now expanded to Dundalk, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Kerry and Kilkenny. 65% of the 125 young people, who have participated in the programme to date have gone on to full time employment or education. The initiative features in Government's Pathways to Work strategy, which aims to help get people back to work.

And the initiative has received awards of its own, this year winning an award from the Irish Institute for Training and Development for Back to Employment Initiative, as well as two CSR awards: from Chambers Ireland for Excellence in Supporting Youth Employment; and best CSR award at the Fundraising Ireland Awards.

Six-week intensive programme

So how does Learning for Life work? The six-week intensive programme is developed working with education and training partners in each region who are responsible for developing and co-funding an integrated training project. The programme focuses on the tourism and hospitality industry as well as upskilling in computer training and interview coaching. The programme is delivered by First Western Training Management, with support and funding from Positive to Work Skillnet.  

The Department of Social Protection identify young people on the Live Register suitable for the programme and support them throughout the process with continued access to social welfare supports during the training and placement period.  After completing the training element the participants are then given an opportunity to take up a further work placement with a Diageo hospitality industry partner in a landmark pub, hotel or restaurant.

Nadine Malone, a graduating participant, is delighted with the whole experience. “It had been difficult looking for jobs because of a lack of experience and a lack of confidence, but from day one I realised that I was on a different type of course and we were trained on all the different aspects of hospitality. It was all quite hands-on.”

Having completed the work experience of the programme at the Guinness Storehouse, Nadine is now a member of staff at Ireland’s leading tourist attraction. “Thousands of visitors come through the doors every week and I am really happy and proud to say that I am part of their Guinness experience. I am so grateful to Diageo for the opportunity and to the Department of Social Protection for the support throughout the process.”

Diageo was also one of the first companies to sign up to the Employment and Youth Activation Charter

Companies signing the Charter commit to supporting jobseekers who are currently on the Live Register, often through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda, by enabling their staff to link in and help create real and important opportunities for jobseekers to get back into the workforce.

Over 360 companies have signed the Charter to date and are working in partnership with the Department of Social Protection on a wide variety of projects to support Jobseekers.

In  2014 the Charter was proposed by the Labour Market Council, which is a representative body of industry and policy experts established to help drive implementation of the Government's Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment. 

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