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November 30, 2012
Star Entertainment


230 students graduate from Diageo Learning for Life

Monique Henry (right), recipient of the Trailblazer Award, Most Outstanding Student, Project Retailer Cohort 2, in the Diageo Learning for Life programme accepts his award from Red Stripe Director Noel DaCosta at the graduation ceremony on Monday, November 26, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. - Contributed

Local liquor giant Red Stripe on Monday graduated its latest cohort of 230 students of its Diageo Learning for Life programme at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

Graduates successfully completed the Project Bartender and Project Retailer (merchandising) programmes.

Learning for Life is an adult skills-based initiative that has been operating in Jamaica since 2008, through Diageo's local arm, Red Stripe. Learning for Life graduates proudly walked away with their HEART Trust/NTA certification after 10-12 weeks of professional and hands-on expert training in bartending and merchandising.

Red Stripe communications manager, Dianne Ashton-Smith, the graduating class, "Diageo's Learning for Life programme offers students a genuine opportunity to earn and contribute to their communities. I'm proud to work for a company that enriches the communities in which we operate."

The graduation's keynote speaker, Andr Dixon, sales and marketing director, Island Entertainment, operators of Margaritaville, urged graduates to follow the famous British leader Winston Churchill's advice to "never give up". He spoke of how important it is for students to follow their dreams.

encouraged graduates

"Think of Bill Gates, you can literally think of him doing something from nothing. Think of Steve Jobs and what he's done with Apple," he said.

In closing, Dixon encouraged the graduates "to make every moment a learning moment".

As testament to its commitment to developing Jamaicans through training, Red Stripe, through its strong partnership, got 100 per cent placement for its Project Retailer students.

Supermarket chains such as Hi-Lo, Progressive, Mega Mart and Michi all took Learning for Life graduates for a paid three-month internship.

Close to half of all Project Retail interns got full employment at the end of their internship.

"It's not about Diageo giving back to the communities, but Diageo giving persons opportunities to transform themselves," Ashton-Smith poignantly said.

"Life now has new meaning for me." Valedictorians Omar Saunders and Sherry-Kay Reid said that graduates now had the opportunity to chart their own course," one student said in a testimonial.

Diageo's Learning for Life, through Red Stripe, has graduated more than 5,000 Jamaicans since its inception in 2008.

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