Ten of South Africa’s foremost bar industry experts will mentor 100 previously disadvantaged bar staff through Diageo SA’s newly-launched The Hand-Up Mentorship Programme.
The ‘by bartenders for bartenders’ program aims to upskill entry level bartenders to become competitors in Diageo’s World Class competition, which has supported, trained and inspired more than 400 000 bartenders across 60 countries. Worth more than R450 000, the nine-month campaign, commenced in August this year and sees the mentees prepared for the World Class National in April 2022.
Trainees were selected from staff at bars that are Diageo SA customers and are primarily female and black. “Our mentors and sales representatives selected deserving candidates, who they believed were displayed a passion for the industry and a dedication for self-improvement, but who had not yet had an opportunity to take the next step.”
Mentors include Perremore, World Class 2021 champion and owner of Art of Duplicity; Casandra Eichhoff, finalist at World Class 2020; Mish Cherrie Channah, four-time World Class contestant; Haroon Haffegee World Class National runner up; Sabrina Traubner World Class regional finalist and trainer at EBS; Chantelle Horne, former World Class Ambassador; and Casandra Eichhoff, third place finalist World Class 2020 and winner of Mentor of the year at BAR awards to year in a row.
The program will run in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, with mentors split between the cities.
“We are looking at helping create better bartenders so they can have great CVs and can get themselves good jobs,” said Brent Perremore, one of the program founders, World Class 2021 champion and owner of Art of Duplicity.
“We decided to focus on a diverse group of young women and black men bar staff as, every year, the Diageo Bar Academy gets solid entries from them, but they tend to drop off before the national finals and don’t make into World Class. We want to focus on upskilling these bartenders by providing them with stock, equipment and training to practice mixing drinks to help them improve, thereby adding diversity to those working in the bartending industry.”
The idea for The Hand-Up Program was born in 2019, when bartender and World Class 2021 champion, Perremore, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and left temporarily paralysed. “The community fundraised to help give me a hand up and help me fund leg braces. I started thinking of ways to give back and, in tandem with industry players Bradley Jacobs and Cassandra Eichhoff, came up with the idea for a mentorship program for bartenders who need a hand up,” Perremore said.