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Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar T.D presented Louth participants of the Diageo Ireland Learning for Life programme with certificates in a special graduation ceremony that took place in The Open Gate Brewery, St. James’s Gate, Dublin last Wednesday.
Learning for Life is a Diageo Ireland initiative, run in partnership with the Department of Social Protection, that equips the long term unemployed with the skills and experience needed to find work in the hospitality industry.
The Louth participants were joined by the Department of Social Protection, Louth Meath Education and Training Board and Positive 2 Skillnets who work in conjunction with Diageo to develop and deliver the award winning programme in Louth. 65 percent of the young people, who have participated in the programme, which is running in seven regions, have gone on to full time employment or education.
Speaking at the event today Minister Leo Varadkar said: “This is my first year attending the Learning for Life Graduation ceremony and I want to extend my congratulations to the trainees here today and celebrate their achievements and recognise the value in the practical skills and training they have received. The dedication and enthusiasm they’ve exhibited in the last few months is remarkable and they should be proud of all they have accomplished.”
“My colleagues have worked closely with Diageo and the participants on this initiative because a key element of the Department’s strategy to tackle youth unemployment is to work with industry partners to identify work and training opportunities for jobseekers, and to help employers with their recruitment needs. It is a good to be here and see the initiatives delivering for them.”
The award winning Learning For Life programme works with education and training partners in each region who are responsible for developing and co-funding an integrated training project, with a focus on the tourism and hospitality industry as well as upskilling in computer training and interview coaching. The six-week intensive programme is delivered by Best Western Training Management. The Department 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.
Following the completion of the education and 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 in Louth.
Oliver Loomes, Country Director of Diageo Ireland, said, “The Learning for Life programme is all about supporting local communities and local industry with a view to the long term. Diageo know well the importance of Ireland’s hospitality industry and that it offers many long term opportunities for young people with the right skills, determination and personality. We recognise the highly skilled workforce in this industry play a key role in providing tourists with an unforgettable and memorable experience and our graduates have shown they have the personalities and confidence to extend the warmest of welcomes.
“I would like to thank Minister Varadkar for his support and that of his Department, who have been the primary partner in Learning for Life from the outset and have guided our graduates along the way. We are very proud of the relationship we have developed with the Department and for their on-going support. We are grateful also to our industry partners, the bars, restaurants and hotels who provide work placements and experience for our participants, it’s a huge commitment and we could not do it without them.”