Drinks giant strikes diversity deal with The Women’s Organisation

Diageo, whose brands include Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Baileys, has approached The Women’s Organisation in Liverpool to help it diversify its workforce. Tony McDonough reports

apprentice, worker, woman
The Women’s Organisation will help Diageo diversify its workforce


Liverpool social enterprise The Women’s Organisation is to help global drinks giant Diageo diversify its workforce.

Diageo, whose brands include Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Baileys, approached The Women’s Organisation to provide expertise to help applicants for roles at the group’s Runcorn plant. These include apprenticeships for engineers and packaging operators.

The aim is to create a more diversified workforce at Diageo by encouraging more women and black and racial minority job seekers to consider a career in manufacturing.

Diageo has committed to a 10-year action plan which includes aims to achieve 50% representation of women in leadership roles and to increase representation of leaders from ethnically diverse backgrounds to 45% by 2030.

An Engineering UK study in 2017 found that 25% of girls aged 11-14 wanted to become engineers – but that figure fell to 20% for those aged 14-16, and then dropped further to just 12% for those aged 16-19.

However, the same study found that 38% of boys aged 11-14 wanted to become engineers, climbing to 40% of 14-16-year-olds, then dropping to 32% of those aged 16-19.

The company’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress strategy states: “We believe the most inclusive and diverse culture makes for a better business and a better world. So, we will champion inclusion and diversity across our business, with our partners and communities, to celebrate diversity and help shape a tolerant society.”

The Women’s Organisation, which operates across the Liverpool city region and Greater Manchester, aims to further champion this by improving female and black and racial minority applicants’ interview techniques, CV writing skills and confidence to radically boost their chances of achieving employment.

Helen Millne, deputy chief executive of The Women’s Organisation, said: “It is imperative that more people have access to good quality, sustainable jobs and career paths in their local areas.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Diageo to encourage more women and people from black and racial minority communities to apply for these fantastic roles, which offer so much more than just a job.

“With support from The Women’s Organisation, applicants can enhance and improve their skills throughout the application process to give them the best chance of securing a place on one of the exciting apprenticeship programmes.”

Diageo’s drinks brands include Guinness


The Diageo UK apprentice programme is currently recruiting for two roles. The apprentice engineer position involves a four-year programme including college classroom and workshop, and on-site training.

The apprentice packing operator role involves in-depth training on different machines, end-to-end manufacturing processes, including quality checks, fault-finding, and a vocational qualification. Both roles will pay the Real Living Wage.

Talent engagement manager at Diageo, Neil Shannon , added: “At Diageo we hire for character over competence. We want apprentices to demonstrate genuine passion, have ambition and continually challenge themselves to grow and be their authentic self.”

And Erin McKenzie, an apprentice at Diageo, attests to the programme’s success, saying: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s built me up as a person.”

For its part, The Women’s Organisation is offering to support local female and black and racial minority people with expert assistance on a wide range of skills. Its programme includes tailored support to all Diageo Apprentice Programme applicants, from creating outstanding application forms to learning winning interview techniques, and more.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Diageo Apprenticeship Programme roles can click www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk/work-with-us or email hello@thewo.org.uk

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