Living with Asperger’s syndrome meant that Liam Hamill struggled with the pressure of interviews, so when he lost his job in a bar it knocked his confidence and he plummeted into depresssion.
But now the 24-year-old is back on top after securing a high-flying hospitality role following a Learning for Life training programme run by drinks giant Diageo.
Liam, from Edinburgh, has climbed the career ladder since the six-week course provided him with the skills and qualifications that saw him secure his new job at Harry’s Bar in the Capital.
The West End bar has been a drinking and dancing hotspot since the 1980s and in 2016 it became part of Edinburgh’s first ever social enterprise chain which allows the business to plough its profits into good causes by employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds and invest in their training.
Working at Harry’s Bar has allowed Liam to keep learning and he quickly moved up the ranks to supervisor and created a cocktail that takes pride of place on their World Cocktail Day menu. He said: “Since Harry’s also supports disadvantaged young people, through various training programmes, similar to Learning for Life, it also feels like I’m giving back.”
The last 18 months have seen Liam blossom as his self-confidence grew after enrolling in the course. He secured his job at Harry’s after working at events company Hickory on placement. Liam said: “Having my programme manager, Elaine, really wanting me to succeed, as well as being able to talk to people in the same situation as me, helped me out. Everyone helped me to come out of my shell and I’m so much more confident now.”
He was thrilled to graduate from the programme that helped him to move on: “The weight of losing my previous job was taken away and I could finally aim to do bigger and better things. It didn’t feel like my anxiety or even my Asperger’s diagnosis was holding me back anymore and I could really do whatever I wanted.”
The highlight of his time on the Learning for Life programme was working behind the bar at the Barack Obama charity dinner in June last year, that raised money for charities which support young people in Scotland. Liam said: “The night was nothing short of amazing. It was absolutely fascinating to not only see how such a large-scale event was run, but to be a part of it.
“It forced me to test everything I’d learnt, and I never would have imagined I’d be confident enough to do it – but I did!”
Liam is looking forward to the future and has new unexpected goals in his sight. He said: “I’d love to be a brand ambassador. Public speaking would’ve been a nightmare for the old me but the rush of excitement when I stand up in front of a crowd is a welcome replacement for the anxiety I used to feel.”