Equal Measures UK has announced the launch the Forming Foundations Programme, the next step in its plan to deliver greater equity in the drinks industry.

The three-day course, aimed at “educating, upskilling, and inspiring the next generation of diverse, bartending superstars” is funded by Johnnie Walker and will run from 24th to 26th April at Milroy’s of Spitalfields in London’s Tower Hamlets, one of the most diverse boroughs in London.

Participants will receive industry qualification WSET Level 1 in Spirits, vocational training, classic cocktail masterclasses; and talks from industry figures, as well as visiting local venues to see different styles of service.

Those who complete the course will be offered trial shifts at a Nightcap or Inception Group venue, allowing them to put their new knowledge and skills to work, and kickstart their careers in hospitality.

Deano Moncrieffe, founder of Equal Measures UK, said: “Our project and marketing manager Vicky llankovan has been a driving force in getting this over the line and I’m incredibly grateful that she shares such passion as I do for the Forming Foundations Programme.

“We are hopeful that this will be the first step for some of our new students to have a successful and amazing future career in our industry.”

Equal Measures’ Forming Foundations programme is open to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic adults (18 and over) within Tower Hamlets and the surrounding areas who are looking to pursue an exciting career in the drinks industry.

The programme is also open to others who have faced systemic barriers due to reasons such as gender non-conformity, sexuality, or neurodivergence.

Spaces on the course are limited and can be applied to via this short online form.

Ilankovan added: “The Forming Foundations programme is our answer to the current UK Hospitality Crisis, where 43% of businesses are reporting that they are operating with fewer staff than needed, with record staff shortages costing the industry £25 billion in lost revenue.

“When you also consider the fact that hospitality workers from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds lost their jobs 26 times more than white workers in the same period during COVID, the landscape is pretty bleak.

“However, by training and encouraging people from underrepresented communities, showing them that they can have vibrant and long-lasting careers in hospitality, and supporting them find their first roles, we are bringing skilled labour back into the sector and injecting some much-needed diversity, passion, and hope.”