Cocktails and Dreams: Young bar manager inspires with digital campaign

Maddy Davidson, Diageo, Learning For Life.

An ambitious young bar manager is helping VisitScotland inspire young people across Scotland to consider a career in tourism and hospitality. Maddy Davidson from Glasgow has progressed through various roles in the hospitality industry and at just 22 is the bar manager of popular venue 1051 GWR, in the West End.

To encourage the next generation to gain skills and expertise in hospitality, she is sharing her story as part of a new digital campaign by the national tourism organisation called Future Focus, created as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

From chefs to tour guides, event organisers to marketeers, a series of specially-created videos and blogs throughout the year will showcase the experiences of those helping ensure Scotland is a must-visit destination.

On finishing school at 18, Maddy knew she didn’t want to explore the University route to work. With limited practical experience, she knew she needed some support to begin her career and signed up to the Diageo Learning for Life programme delivered by the Springboard Charity.

Signing up to the Hospitality and Bartending programme, Maddy completed the six-week training course consisting of four weeks of training and two weeks placement. The programme enabled her to secure a role with the G1 Group where she worked as a supervisor and she then moved up to Assistant Manager at The Record factory before landing her current role.

Maddy said: “Something I love about my work is that every day is different and I’m always on my toes. The progression routes for those who work hard is a big motivation for me and my training means I’m prepared to give my best and succeed.

“In order to do well you need to put in the time and effort. This can be tough but it can lead to a really rewarding and enjoyable career. I’ve enjoyed working with VisitScotland on their campaign and I hope it encourages young people across the country to start a career in tourism and hospitality.”

Almost 1,200 unemployed people have graduated from the Diageo Learning for Life programme since its launch in 2014, with 83% of graduates going on to further training or employment and 78% securing long-term employment – making it one of Scotland’s leading employability schemes.

Nicola Reid, Diageo Learning for Life Programme Manager for Great Britain and Europe, said: “It’s really encouraging to see the programme making a real difference to young people’s lives, in terms of both professional and personal development.

“Seeing Maddy progress with her career has been fantastic, from gaining skills and qualifications during her time on the course, to taking her initial steps onto the hospitality career ladder.

“The hospitality industry in Scotland is booming and offers many excellent career opportunities for course graduates – giving them a chance to secure valuable employment for the future.”

Scotland’s tourism industry accounts for approximately 217,000 jobs across 14,000 tourism businesses. Every £62,000 spent by visitors supports one job across Scotland’s economy, while visitors to Scotland spend over a fifth of their holiday budget on eating and drinking.

Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “Maddy is a fantastic young tourism ambassador and we are delighted to share her story as part of Future Focus. She has shown that with hard work, enthusiasm and dedication you can really play a vital part in supporting local tourism, leaving visitors with lasting memories of their time in Scotland.

“Throughout the Year of Young People 2018 we have been celebrating the astounding talent and priceless contributions of those aged 8-26 years old. We want to inspire the next generation to choose tourism as a career and join this fast-paced, exciting and vibrant industry which is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy.”

Tourism businesses across Scotland are now being urged to shine a light on their own young rising stars and join the conversation on social media using #FutureFocus and #YOYP2018.

For more information about #FutureFocus and to read Maddy’s blog visit here.