FIRST Minister Alex Salmond today [27th September] helped to serve up plans for a new Scottish hospitality apprenticeship scheme as part of the legacy of The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes welcomed Mr Salmond to the Johnnie Walker Experience at The 2014 Ryder Cup to announce the Scottish Hospitality Apprenticeship – an industry-led initiative to establish the first apprenticeship of its kind in the UK.
Several leading Scottish hotels - Gleneagles, Cameron House, The Blythswood, The Bonham and Apex Hotels - have collaborated to create the scheme in partnership with Skills Development Scotland who will pay a contribution towards individual training costs through the Modern Apprenticeship programme. It is supported by training partners Training Matters, MGT Training and Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland.
The apprenticeship will give truly world class on-the-job training across all aspects of the modern luxury hotel industry.
Diageo is supporting the apprenticeship scheme as part of its £5million Learning For Life Scotland programme, which creates training and employment opportunities for young unemployed people through the hospitality sector while also improving the quality and professionalism of hospitality service in Scotland.
The First Minister met Lewis Hunter, 20, from Kirkcaldy and Cameron Baxter, 18, from Elgin, two of the first young people to be recruited to the scheme and who began their apprenticeships this week at Gleneagles during The 2014 Ryder Cup. Initially the scheme will create 36 apprenticeships with the ambition for it to be taken up more widely by other hotels in Scotland and across the UK.
Mr Salmond welcomed the investment in the Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality as a key part of the legacy for Scotland from hosting the Ryder Cup.
He said: “We must ensure that we are able to take away a real human legacy from hosting major sporting events such as the Ryder Cup, as well as a physical legacy. I know that apprentices can bring countless benefits to organisations, and that is why I am very pleased to see large companies such as Diageo provide opportunities for young people in the hospitality industry, equipping even more with the skills that they need, for the jobs of the future.
“Every year, but this year in particular, we have welcomed millions of tourists from around the globe to Scotland. It is more important than ever that everyone is an ambassador for Scotland, and those in the hospitality sector on the front line, must be ready to offer the warm welcome to our country that is expected and deserved.”
Ivan Menezes said the apprenticeship scheme and Diageo Learning For Life Scotland programme were a key part of the company’s commitment to creating job opportunities across the hospitality sector and to create a lasting legacy from The 2014 Ryder Cup.
Mr Menezes said: “We are very proud at Diageo to own the Gleneagles Hotel and to be hosting The 2014 Ryder Cup and we want to make sure it creates a lasting positive legacy for Scotland. This apprenticeship programme will give truly world class training opportunities for young people, but it is also an investment in the future of Scottish hospitality.
“Scotland is the home of whisky and the home of golf, two great gifts to the world, and that attracts visitors from all over the globe. We want to make sure visitors to this wonderful country enjoy a wonderful hospitality experience.”
Diageo Learning for Life Scotland is being led Peter Lederer CBE, who has contributed 30 years’ service to the industry in Scotland since taking over running Gleneagles Hotel in January 1984. Peter, a Director of Diageo in Scotland and Chairman of Gleneagles was part of the team who led the bid to bring the Ryder Cup to Scotland.
He said: “This has been an incredible year for Scotland on the world stage and we want to ensure that we continue to build on that in the future. We are creating a win-win for Scottish hospitality by investing in creating fantastic career opportunities for young people and also raising the standard of service we offer to visitors.
“Tourism is a crucial sector for the Scottish economy and it will be a great legacy of Ryder Cup if we can use the event to grow that positive economic impact in the future.”
Skills Development Scotland's Chief Executive Damien Yeates said 'In today's competitive tourism market, having people with the high level hospitality skills to complement Scotland's attractions is vital. "SDS has worked with the industry to support this collaborative approach and welcomes the fantastic commitment to deliver this enhanced learning experience. "SDS will continue to work with industry to ensure we have the right skills in place for businesses to succeed."
Diageo Learning for Life, Scotland is part of a global programme that has already changed the lives of more than 100,000 young people worldwide.
The Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality is one of a number of Learning for Life programmes that have been launched here in Scotland which include Entrepreneurship, Retail, Bartending and Manufacturing – all of which are contributing to creating bright futures for the country’s young talent.
Fifty Learning for Life graduates from programmes across Scotland are gaining work experience at The Ryder Cup with others having worked at the Commonwealth Games and the Edinburgh Festival earlier in the year.
The apprenticeship scheme is supported by Skills Development Scotland through its Modern Apprenticeship programme and by training partners Training Matters, MGT Training and Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland. In its initial phase the apprenticeship will see 36 students trained in the first three years, with the opportunity for the scheme to be extended and developed as it becomes established.
Tourism is one of Scotland’s most important industries and this coupled with an additional 10,000 jobs being predicted to be created in the food and drink sector in the next 5 years, provides real employment prospects for participants.