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Ukrainian refugees complete hospitality training course

The Learning for Life programme is run by drinks company Diageo.

A group of Ukrainian refugees have graduated from a training course in Scotland.

Seven refugees and seven other students completed the Learning for Life hospitality programme run by drinks company Diageo.

The students spent six weeks training at the Learning for Life Academy in Edinburgh, which included work experience at bars and hotels and a week with a local employer.

As part of their experience, the students also completed the Johnnie Walker Journey of Flavour tour and visited Glenkinchie Distillery.

The Learning for Life programme, which is delivered in partnership with charities Springboard and the Princes Trust, aims to drive recruitment in the hospitality sector and support the long-term prosperity of the industry.

Hanna Korneiko, a Ukrainian refugee who moved to Scotland in August, joined the course in the hope that it would provide access to employment.

JWPS graduation
Students from the Learning for Life course (Learning for Life/PA)

She said: “Back home in Ukraine, I had an established career and a business with my husband, which we ran together.

“When the war began, my husband and I decided that my son and I should leave the country and so I found myself in Scotland, starting from the very beginning.

“When I arrived, I only knew about 10 words in English. I was very afraid that this was going to hold me back from finding work.

“I was lucky to be introduced to Learning for Life, which has given me so much confidence in my abilities.

“The team have shown me that nothing is impossible and, after six weeks, I have been offered a job to work at Apex Hotels and my ambition now is to become a hotel manager.”

Ms Korneiko is one of eight graduates to have already secured jobs with employers such as Signatures Pubs, Apex Hotels, IHG The Kimpton and The George Hotel.

Gillian Dalziel, Learning for Life programme manager for Diageo in the UK, said: “At Diageo, we are committed to creating a positive impact within our communities. Learning for Life plays an important role, allowing us to champion diversity and inclusion, not only in our business, but across the industry.

“Since the onset of the war in Ukraine, so many people have had to uproot their life and give up careers that they have worked so hard to develop.

“It has been a real honour to support the participants on this course to develop new skills and build relationships in the Scottish hospitality sector, which has so much to offer those looking for an exciting and rewarding career.”