Diageo Learning for Life, Scotland aims to help equip young, unemployed people with the skills to work in a range of sectors - starting with hospitality.
The five year investment programme includes advice in areas such as interview preparation, teamwork and communication.
The first phase of the programme will focus on bartending and hospitality and will expand to include retail, manufacturing and entrepreneurship.
Learning for Life, Scotland aims to create at least 200 newly trained graduates to work in the hospitality sector, gaining experience in roles available as a result of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Diageo owns The Gleneagles Hotel and Johnnie Walker is an official partner of the Ryder Cup.
The programme is being led for Diageo by Peter Lederer CBE, who has contributed 30 years’ service to Scottish hospitality since he started running Gleneagles Hotel in January 1984.
Lederer is a director of Diageo in Scotland and chairman of Gleneagles.
He said: “The 2014 Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games coming to Scotland in the same year gives us a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of young people and also to give a real boost to our hospitality industry.
“With Learning for Life, Scotland - Diageo is determined to play its part in seizing that opportunity and looking beyond 2014, we want to build on that by using our business in the broadest sense to help create opportunities for young people in manufacturing as well as hospitality. We also want to use the programme to encourage the kind of entrepreneurship which has made Scotch whisky a global triumph.”
Stacey Allan (20), one of the first participants from the Learning for Life, Scotland programme who has been unemployed since 2011 said: “The course has opened up a lot of opportunities to me. I’ve learned new skills, achieved new qualifications and received great encouragement from the Learning for Life team.”
Learning for Life is a long-term global commitment by Diageo as part of its sustainability and responsibility strategy. It was first introduced in 2008 in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Diageo is backing the programme with input from key industry partners which include Skills Development Scotland (SDS), members of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association as well as from specialist training providers such as charity Springboard UK.