Johnnie Walker owner Diageo blends efforts in new tie-up to address 'chronic' hospitality skills shortages

The world’s largest drinks group Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, and Smirnoff, is serving up a new three-year partnership to address the “chronic” skills shortages facing the UK hospitality industry – and help thousands of people embark on relevant careers.

The FTSE100 company has teamed up with youth charity The Prince’s Trust and Springboard, which was set up to support hospitality, leisure and tourism and those seeking employment within it – with the trio aiming to help more than 3,000 adults into work and promote the skillsets needed to succeed in a career in hospitality.

Both charities will run Diageo’s Learning for Life programme, which provides training and vocational experience as well as a route into the hospitality sector for adults, to drive recruitment in the industry and support its long-term prosperity. The partnership will extend the existing Learning for Life six-week Bartending and Hospitality Course and recently introduced Hospitality Sprint programme to include three new delivery models.

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The news comes as UKHospitality reports 400,000 vacancies and 100,000 staff absences across the sector, and is among trade bodies reporting that more than a third of Britain's pubs, restaurants and hotels fear going bust by the end of the year.

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Kate Moore, society manager of Diageo GB, said: “We know the hospitality industry continues to face unprecedented challenges… We are excited to be relaunching the programme that directly support participants no matter where they are on their journey to employment.”

Chris Gamm, chief executive of Springboard, said: “Hospitality organisations up and down the country will be as delighted as we are to hear that our incredible partnership with Diageo is continuing for a further three years. Learning for Life plays such an important role in turning out skilled and qualified professionals into the industry, futureproofing the talent pipeline for hospitality.”

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Springboard will also be working with The Prince’s Trust, which will support the delivery of early-stage career training. Ben Marson, director of partnerships at the latter, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Springboard for the Diageo Learning for Life programme and believe that during this challenging time for the hospitality sector, we can bring together our collective strengths to support young people into meaningful work in the hospitality sector, and ultimately to build a better future for themselves.”

The partnership aims to 'support young people into meaningful work in the hospitality sector, and ultimately to build a better future for themselves'. Picture: Mike Wilkinson.

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