As part of its ongoing Women Empowerment and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiative, Guinness Nigeria Plc says it is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture for women in the bartending and hospital industry.
Viola Graham-Douglas, the International Premium Spirits, Reserve & Modern Trade (IRM) Director, Guiness Nigeria, made the assertion the Diageo Bar Academy (DBA) graduation ceremony in Lagos, where nine trained female bartenders scaled through.
Newsmen reports that DBA is a programme designed to get more women in bartending positions, to increase the number of women working in the industry through women-only bartending training.
According to Graham-Douglas, Guinness Nigeria champions diversity and inclusion across its entire businesses with its employers, employees, suppliers and across its brands within communities that it operates.
Speaking with newsmen, Graham-Douglas said that the aim of the programme was to make sure that no part of the workforce in the sector left women behind.
“Every single year, the academy has had all-men trainees, but in line with Guinness Nigeria’s Diversion and Inclusion Initiative, we have women this time.
“But this time, what we did was design a programme that was specially for women, which we call Diageo Bar Academy Diversion and Inclusion Programme.
“It is aimed at providing more females with viable career opportunities in bartending and the hospitality sector in general.
“We are committed to creating a diverse culture. It is important to us.
“In spite of who we are and what we do, we believe that it’s the right thing to do in order to help our business grow.
“Everywhere we go, we try to create the most important diverse culture, sharing market leading policies and practices because it’s one of our purposes — celebrating lives every day and everywhere.
“We are here today, to celebrate one of our efforts in championing diversity and inclusion in our industry with the very first set of graduates from our all-female diversity and inclusion programme at the Diageo Bar”, she said.
According to Graham-Douglas, the Diageo Bar Academy is a training programme where Guinness Nigeria helps Nigerian bar tenders (men and women) to learn world class bartending techniques that they need to build successful careers anywhere they go.
“So, in this programme, what we did is we went out to find talented female bartenders who we trained for free to build their skills in hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars and any other part of the hospitality business”, she said.
According to Graham-Douglas, the main things that they looked out for in the trainees include attitude, enthusiasm, compassion and commitment.
She said that these virtues would help them to excel in the industry after they are done with the training.
She said the Diageo team members were astonished by the strong desire that each of the cohorts showed especially as all nine females completed and excelled in their courses.
“Today we are here to honour the nine ladies who have completed an intensive programme to become certified bartenders.
“They can compete and operate within the hospitality business anywhere in the world.
“I’m happy that we have nine successful women who are going to go and set the hospitality world on fire,’’ Graham-Douglas said.
The IRM director added that the cohorts would be enrolled for further training.
“Now that the cohorts are done with their exams, we’ve established a three months internship for them with our trade partners during which they will be mentored to become better in what they already know.
“They have the technical and theoretical skills, but now they are going to go on a 3 months intense training in an established bar in Lagos to horn their practical skills’’.
She said that Guinness Nigeria was particularly conscious of its societal impact in its operative areas, and believes that when women are empowered, the family benefits and the entire country benefits as well.
Also, the Marketing and Innovations Director, Guinness Nigeria, Mark Mugisha, reiterated the commitment of Guinness Nigeria to diversity and inclusiveness.
“The DBA programme that the ladies have undertaken is just an estimate to what it is that Guinness will continue to do in terms of driving its diversity agenda.
“For me, what is most important is to commit as well that this is a programme that is not just going to simply collapse after our passing cohorts.
“I’m pretty sure that it is the first all-female bartender training in Nigeria.
“So it’s a big deal for us. We are definitely committed to it. I’m looking forward to some of the experience that our graduates have attained,” Mugisha said.