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Diageo Ireland - Learning for Life programme

Lerning For Life Logo

Company Name: Diageo Ireland
Business Type: Food & Beverages
Location: Irish Headquarters in St James Gate, Thomas Street, Dublin 8
Mission Statement: Celebrate life everyday, everywhere
No. of Employees: 1,200 (countrywide)

Overview of CSR Initiative:

Learning for Life is a programme designed to inspire and transform the lives of people throughout the communities in which we operate.

Project team:
Jeanne McDonagh, Diageo Head of Society and Engagement; Angela Smith, Consultant.

Resources required:
A training company to educate the participants, locations for the training, companies to supply placements for the participants.

Less people available to take up the training as there is nearly full employment, so we are expanding into ‘blended’ courses.

These courses, mixing three different groups of marginalised people – people with disabilities, refugees and asylum seekers and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds - better reflects society and aids in group cohesion and support.

Each course trains approx. 20 people to City and Guilds Certificate standard and many go on to full employment after their successful completion of the course. There are on average three courses per year.

How is this initiative promoted?
National media, annual report and Yammer (internal comms system).

Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report?
Yes – it is one of the main sections in the Global Annual Report.

CSR Dimension:

Four Dimensions of CSR

'Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.

Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace –making responsible commercial decisions in dealing with suppliers and customers.

Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?

The Workplace – Over the years there has been great support within the workforce for Learning for Life. Many employees assist by setting up training, finding locations, producing necessary equipment, mentoring and finding placements.

For the first Migrant course, we asked our own employees to act as mentors to the participants and work with them in completing the course and the placement. We trained all participants through the Immigrant Council of Ireland and An Garda Síochána HR section to ensure the highest standards and to allow for culture differences. We also worked with the Dept of Justice to ensure best practices were met in working with this group.

The Community – we source our participants from various communities. The first Learning for Life was carried out with disadvantaged youth from Dublin 8, directly around the brewery. Over the five years, this has grown to include people from other areas around the country and our new neighbours, the migrant community with our first refugee and Asylum seeker course taking place in Mosney Direct Provision Centre.

Since then we have run blended courses, including people with disabilities, migrants and those from a disadvantaged background, to better mirror society and these are forming small communities of their own.

The Marketplace – we work with our supply chain to find placements for people on the courses, which generally lead to full time work. Our customers are very engaged with Learning for Life and recognise that participants are trained to a high standard and that it benefits them to engage with the programme.

Learning for Life Participants

Pictured Above: Participants of the Learning for Life programme

Business Impact:
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?

It has assisted in several ways:
• In depth employee engagement.
• CEO engagement and that of our parent company in terms of support and funding. It is also being looked at as a model for other countries.
• Deeper connections with our supply chain and other businesses to create placements and work opportunities.
• Learning new approaches to this work and how to better produce various aspects of it.
• Reputational benefits such as positive publicity in national media around the participants and the work they are learning to carry out.
• Connections with government and state agencies and international groups such as the UNHCR who are working in this area.
• Connections to other companies who are learning from the model and leading to a coalition of currently 35 companies and 18 NGOs through the Open Doors Initiative (founded by Diageo) www.opendoorsinitiative.ie who are all working to create employment for marginalised groups including migrants, people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth. @opendoorstowork

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.
Goal 1 – No poverty
Goal 4 – Quality education
Goal 5 – Gender equality
Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth
Goal 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 10 – reduced inequalities
Goal 17 – Partnerships

What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?

This programme gives value and purpose to the company’s objectives and engages employees beyond their day to day work. It gives a sense of pride in working for a company who sees this work as an integral part of its mission – beyond just profit – and core to its sense of place in society and how it can better it.

Be true to your values and view this work not as an addition that has to be carried out but as a very necessary piece at the heart of the company and its ethos. Link in with programmes that reflect and amplify your business purpose and which you will commit to, with purpose, over the long term. Bring in employees to shape it and see it as an extension of the business purpose and not just CSR for the sake of it or for gain. Embed this thinking in all aspects of the work.

Download a copy of the case study as a .pdf

Case Study provided by:
Diageo Ireland
September 2019