Kilkenny Councillor and Deputy Mayor Michael Doyle presented 14 participants in the Diageo Learning for Life programme with their graduation certificates in a special ceremony held in the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenn

Learning for Life is a Diageo Ireland initiative that equips the long term unemployed youth with the skills needed to find work in the hospitality industry. The pilot programme began in 2014 in Dublin 8 and two years on has further expanded into seven counties across the country including Dublin, Dundalk, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Kerry and Kilkenny with over 100 participants graduating nationwide.

The Learning for Life programme, which is run in partnership with the Department of Social Protection through a targeted interagency approach, brought 14 young people off the Live Register in Kilkenny through a training and educational programme that focused on the development of skills transferable to the hospitality and tourism industry. The participants are then given the opportunity to undertake a further a four-week work placement with a Diageo hospitality industry partner in landmark pubs, hotels and restaurants in Kilkenny.

Speaking at the event Councillor Michael Doyle said: “I must applaud Diageo and the education, training and industry partners for their commitment to the Learning for Life programme. I wish to extend my congratulations to the 14 young people who completed the Learning for Life programme. Today is a day to mark their tremendous achievements and recognise the invaluable and practical skills and training they have received. The enthusiasm the participants have shown is remarkable and they should be proud of the journey they have embarked upon these last few months.”y

Mark McGovern, Visitor Centre Manager at Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny said: “It’s fantastic to see young people working given the skills and opportunity to work in the exciting tourism and hospitality industry. The Smithwick’s Experience has welcomed over 100,000 visitors through the doors since its opening in July 2014 and we know the workers in the hospitality industry have played a key role in providing visitors with an unforgettable and positive experience.”