A major part of Red Stripe's objectives is celebrating and enriching Jamaica, and its Diageo Learning for Life pro-grammes do just that.
Against the background of a Jamaican economy challenged by large fiscal deficits, a commonly held view is that one way to improve the economy is through training and certification of the workforce. A trained and certified workforce is likely to lead to greater productivity, business competitiveness, and ultimately economic growth and development.
Being mindful of its role as a socially responsible corporate entity, Red Stripe is again entering another phase of strategic intervention, aimed at human-capital development, through the further expansion of its Diageo Learning for Life programmes.
Since inception in 2008, the Diageo Learning for Life programmes have graduated 5,000 Jamaicans and the company is set to impact 4,000 more lives this year. This, in partnership with three of Jamaica's educational institutions - Bars to Go Training Institute, The Institute for Workforce Education and Development (IWED) Ltd and the Training Brokers, who will execute the training and prepare students for certification from the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust/National Training Agency.
Through an informal needs-assessment survey with its customer base, Red Stripe and its training partners have developed a specialised suite of vocational training programmes targeted at unemployed inner-city youth ranging in ages from 18-30 years old. They include housekeeping, general office administration, supervisory management, customer service, data operations, bartending, events coordination, cashiering and merchandising.
Students who successfully matriculate into the programmes will be provided with a full tuition scholarship, lunch, all course material, and four-week internship opportunities. Each programme will last between nine to 12 weeks and is designed to equip participants with the basic skills, attitude and techniques needed for full competency in the requisite skill areas. Participants will be exposed to a blend of theoretical, cognitive, and practical exercises and, upon successful completion, they will receive statements of competency from the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
For the beneficiaries, this is an opportunity to learn a skill, build self-confidence, improve their levels of socialisation, and enhance their employability. Overall, this collaboration enables the accomplishment of objectives at the individual, community, organisational, and national levels.
According to Dianne Ashton-Smith, communications manager at Red Stripe, "The growth and sustainability of any company is dependent largely on the affluence of the markets it serves as well as on the socio-economic conditions of the people within the communities it operates."
Red Stripe recognises the importance of this symbiotic relationship between business and community and has, therefore, embarked on this initiative to address the matter. The main objective of this project is to train and certify participants across the island, thus increasing the levels of skill while making available to Red Stripe, its affiliates, and Jamaican employers generally a cadre of skilled and competent workers across the island.
Echoing the sentiments of the other partners, CEO of the IWED Audrey Hinchcliffe said, "In keeping with its demonstrated culture of civic mindedness, Red Stripe is again leading the way in building the nation's workforce capabilities. IWED is proud to be a part of this intervention."