Learning for Life is a skills-based adult education program designed to inspire and transform the lives of people throughout the Americas.
Created by Diageo in 2008, the program provides skills training to young adults in four main areas: hospitality, retail, enterprise and bartending. The company believes that “change begets change”, and by providing opportunities in the lives of 1, 10 or 100 people through vocational and life-skills training, a ripple effect would be unleashed creating a positive impact on thousands of individuals, families, communities and societies throughout the Americas.
Since the program’s launch in 2008, Learning for Life has graduated more than 60,000 students, thereby impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands across the region.
In Antigua, Learning for Life has impacted more than 100 individuals.
The success of Learning for Life is a result of the collaborative effort of all its stakeholders -including the students and their families, Diageo employees, training agencies, government, media, NGOs, strategic partners and businesses; one such strategic partner has been Kennedy’s Club Limited. It is this collective effort that has made Learning for Life into what it is today: an innovative and one-of-a-kind program that is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and creating change for the better across the Americas.
“I believe that Learning For Life has truly created opportunities for our young, less fortunate yet ambitious citizens. It has given them a fair chance to empower themselves, enrich their lives and lead to their financial independence. The programme has been a catalyst in the alleviation of poverty and has opened doors of useful opportunities for the youngsters who are eager and focused on self-development,” says Dion Francis, Managing Director of Kennedy’s Club Limited.
The top-graduating students who participated in the first Learning for Life programme here in Antigua were: Kara Wilson (bartending), Danielle Marsh (housekeeping), and Shem Alexander (retail sales). Since the completion of the programme, the individuals have since gained employment opportunities in the areas
Being socially responsible and investing in the communities in which a company operates is at the heart of what it means for DIAGEO to be a good corporate citizen. It is for that reason that DIAGEO partnered with Kennedy’s Club Limited in 2012 to bring the Learning for Life programme to Antigua. For years, the Kennedy’s brand has been synonymous with giving back to various communities throughout the nation of Antigua & Barbuda.
In 2011, Learning for Life received the Corporate Citizen of the Americas (CCA) Award from the OAS Trust of the Americas.
Learning for Life works with local and multinational partners who provide employment opportunities to many students after graduation. Some of the learning initiatives include:
Project Bartender prepares individuals to enter a career in bartending or related fields with the skills and knowledge needed to responsibly serve customers and provide excellent experiences.
The program currently operates in Aruba, Antigua, Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.
Project Retailer provides young people with customer service and customer relations skills, cash management training and professional appearance guidance so they can develop a career in the retail industry. It also helps students develop fundamental business skills such as accounting principles that are essential to their future success. The program currently operates in Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Project Hospitality aims to strengthen knowledge and commitment to the hospitality industry by helping people become valued assets of their local economy. The program seeks to interact with communities and empower their hospitality potential, inspiring them to identify their strengths and develop local and natural resources, as well as cultural assets. The program currently operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela.
Project Entrepreneur provides individuals with knowledge and practical tools to start their own small businesses in order to become productive and self-sustaining in the future. It gives people with limited resources the opportunity to launch a new business venture and become active and resourceful citizens of their local communities.
While financial contributions are important, active involvement can often achieve much more for the community, whether through the time and skills of employees, surplus products, and other ‘in-kind’ resources. For our people who get involved in the community, there is very often a real sense of being ‘proud of what we do.’ From a business perspective, by demonstrating our commitment, being active and caring about the communities where we operate, we demonstrate to employees that Diageo is responsive to the issues they care about. •