A number of refugees and asylum seekers are among the latest graduates of Diageo Ireland’s Learning for Life programme, who received their certificates in a special ceremony held at the Guinness Storehouse on Tuesday 9th July.
The Learning for Life programme aims to equip people with the skills and training necessary for employment in the hospitality sector. The initiative was originally piloted in 2014 in Dublin 8, and programmes have since taken place across Dublin, Louth, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Kerry and Kilkenny in partnership with a number of Irish government departments. 300+ learners have participated in the programme so far and two thirds are now working.
The 14 most recent graduates were a combination of learners from direct provision and the Limerick and Clare areas. This is the first time that Diageo Ireland has integrated learners from different communities into these blended programmes.
The initiative was run in partnership with the Department of Justice and Equality, Doras Luimnigh and the Department of Employment and Social Protection.
Last year Diageo Ireland ran a pilot Learning for Life programme with a refugee and asylum seekers group in Mosney. This led to the foundation of the Open Doors Initiative, where, with the support of government, Diageo and other companies have come together to create employability opportunities for those in categories that are still seeing high unemployment numbers – namely refugee and migrant groups, people with a disability and under 25s with educational disadvantages.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Liam Reid, Director of Corporate Relations, Diageo Ireland, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the Learning for Life graduates for pledging their commitment to the programme. They have continuously demonstrated an excellent work ethic right throughout their training and placement. And the training they have received has equipped them with the skills necessary to benefit from future opportunities to work in the ever-growing hospitality industry.
“I wish to extend my gratitude to Limerick Clare Education and Training Board, Positive to Work Skillnet, along with the industry partners for the hours and dedication they provide to our young graduates to ensure the Learning for Life programme continues to be a success. The programme is key to the Open Doors Initiative that has seen us come together with other companies to create employment opportunities. The programme has developed and we ran it with the asylum and migrant group last year, today we see graduates from direct provision and earlier this year in Kilkenny the programme included a learner on the autism spectrum and another with dyspraxia.”