“It felt fantastic to come straight out of the course, into a full time job and then go on to compete in International competitions like the World Gin Day. The owner of Gin 71 took a chance on me and I’m so glad they did. Every day is different and there are always new challenges, new customers and new skills to learn. It’s a really friendly industry to work in and my work colleagues are like a second family to me!”
David was unemployed and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his career. Having had a series of jobs which hadn’t been suitable for him including working as a gardener for the council, he started applying for jobs in different sectors.
On reflection, he realises he wasn’t selling himself fully as he wasn’t fully committed to the role. He had also been going to the Job Centre regularly to see what jobs and opportunities might be available to him. The Job Centre Plus advisor informed him of several workshops and courses coming up that he could apply for. Amongst I.T and cookery courses, the advisor mentioned the Diageo Learning for Life programme.
The hospitality focus of the course appealed to David more than any other industry, and he could see himself thriving in the hustle and bustle of that environment. He arranged to meet with Inga McVicar at The Springboard Charity, Diageo Learning for Life’s delivery partner, who told David all about the course and he felt inspired to join the programme.
David said: “The course sounded really interesting and I knew I would enjoy the mixture of classroom based and on the job experience. The fact that we were going to get official qualification really appealed to me too, as well as the work experience placement. It was the opportunity I had been looking for.”
David says, “The training was an intense experience, and staying focused throughout was a challenge. However the fact that we were constantly learning different things every day kept it really exciting. We then instantly put the skills we were learning into practice and that really helped me. With other courses, it can be a year before you’re actually in the job using the skills you’ve trained in.”
“I really liked all aspects of the course and I enjoyed the written work as well as the practical. The industry visits showed us that there was more to the hospitality industry than working behind a bar – there was a host of other places you could work such as a Drinks Company, a Brewery, and Distilleries or in Hotels. I enjoyed the insight into these different industries, it really was an eye opener to the world I was about to enter into.”
The Springboard Charity’s course Programme Manager asked David where he might like to do his two week work placement and David requested somewhere with a lively environment. David was placed at Gin 71/Cup Tea Rooms in Glasgow City centre and instantly loved the hustle and bustle of the establishment.
The programme helped him define what David wanted to do and gave him the focus he had been missing and gave an insight into the industry. It showed him how much he would enjoy the industry and provided David with the confidence he required to get a job in the industry after graduation.
An unexpected benefit of the course was the Programme Manager keeping in touch after David had graduated. He was also asked to work at a Diageo sponsored drinks reception at The Springboard Charity 25th anniversary event at Wembley.
“I would definitely recommend the programme to my friends. It’s a great experience, even if you don’t get a job straight away, you gain qualifications and the invaluable two weeks work placement. I would encourage anyone that is interested in Hospitality to find out about Diageo Learning for Life courses in their area. I knew after three days on the programme that I wanted to do this for a living.”
David is now Bar Manager at Gin 71/Cup Tea Rooms in Glasgow, a tearoom by day and dedicated gin bar by night. After doing his work placement there, he was offered a full time role as daytime floor staff.
After 1 year of working full time as floor staff David was promoted to Bar Manager. In 2016 David represented Gin 71 in the World Gin Day international cocktail competition where he competed against five bars around the world chosen as finalists. His creation, the ‘Irn Bro’ impressed the judges and he was awarded the top prize.