The Drinks Trust launches new industry vocational hardship initiative, Develop – with Campari Group UK as founding partner

The Drinks Trust today announced its new vocational hardship initiative Develop, a scheme designed to lift people out of long-term hardship and help tackle the staff and skill shortage in the drinks hospitality sector – with the ambition of training and placing over 750 staff in the first 12 months of operations. Additionally, Campari Group UK have been announced as the exclusive spirits funding partner for Develop.

The drinks hospitality industry is experiencing a significant lack of skilled staff due to multiple Covid lockdowns, Brexit, a lack of entrants and a national talent drain. In addition, industry bodies report that one in five workers have left the sector during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, a significant proportion of the industry workforce is struggling with long term debt and is without available funding to support career mobility.

Since 1886, The Drinks Trust has worked to alleviate hardship amongst the industry workforce; as a result and with the challenges faced by the workforce and industry as a whole, the charity is now launching its new vocational hardship initiative, Develop, with Campari Group UK as a founding partner of the scheme and the sole spirits partner for the first 12 months.

The programme was conceived to provide a long-term solution to individuals facing hardship and an opportunity to develop a successful career in our industry, with the ambition of lifting thousands of people out of hardship indefinitely.

Develop will provide training, grants, resources, and bursaries to those in the industry facing hardship to improve their skills, and ultimately providing them with an opportunity to grow their career and attract new talent. Participating service providers in the programme include WSET, Mixology Group, IBD, Beer and Cider Academy, European Bartender School, and Julia Bailey, accredited career and executive coach – with more to be announced shortly.

The Drinks Trust will work closely with leading skills and education providers to deliver training, vocational and classroom-based courses to the beneficiaries of the Develop initiative. These providers will range in specialisms across beer, cider, wine and spirits, and skills-based providers offering services across interviewing techniques, CV writing and how to research and approach businesses looking for staff. 

Campari Group UK have made an initial commitment of £60,000 to the scheme, and as a result will play a vital role in delivering new staff and skills to the sector. This, together with Campari Group UK’s funding of its own skills initiatives –  such as the Campari Academy – will have a profound impact on delivering the future workforce for the industry.

Work has also begun on partnering with operator groups to provide apprenticeship and work placement opportunities to ‘graduates’ of the Develop program, and as a result the scheme will ultimately deliver on both alleviating hardship in the long-term and addressing the significant staff and skills shortage in the industry.

Ross Carter, CEO of The Drinks Trust, says: “In March 2020, just ahead of the first lockdown, The Drinks Trust set out its plan to provide new services across both wellbeing and vocational hardship. Since then, we have made financial relief as a result of COVID-19 our priority, and in the last six months we have been working to deliver the promised services set out in March of last year. We are now able to deliver on that commitment and Develop comes at a time when the industry is in urgent need of new, skilled entrants.”

Brad Madigan, Managing Director for Campari Group UK, says: “It is so important to us at Campari Group UK to play a role in the development of our drinks and hospitality industry, and we hope this investment will not only benefit the industry as a whole – but in particular to operator businesses who continue to struggle with staffing and skills shortages. We are proud to be joining forces with The Drinks Trust yet again and play a role in this initiative – we very much look forward to welcoming the first graduates of the Develop scheme into our vibrant industry.”

The Drinks Trust is looking for businesses in the wine, beer, and industry servicing sectors to join Campari Group UK and to invest in the future of the drinks and hospitality’s industry workforce. There are several ways to support Develop and to play a role in the responsible growth of our industry. If you are a business or brand owner, get in touch with The Drinks Trust team to discuss how your business or organisation can play a role in delivering the workforce of the future, and building careers and opportunity for people facing financial hardship by emailing or by visiting  

Ross Carter adds: “Develop will allow The Drinks Trust to deliver on its 135-year-old purpose of alleviating hardship, but now with a longer-term solution for beneficiaries and even greater opportunity. We are asking industry leaders to consider the Develop scheme and the value it holds in growing our sector, to the benefit of us all.”

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