Plumpton College, the UK’s centre of excellence in wine education, training and research is set to launch the UK’s first nationwide Viticulture apprenticeship and is seeking UK producers who are interested in taking part in the first pilot group.
The college has developed the government approved new Level 3 Crop Technician apprenticeship standard into a new Viticulture apprenticeship, which will be delivered on a national basis, and provide excellent coverage of all aspects of practical vineyard management.
Endorsed by the industry body, Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), students will learn a variety of skills including: canopy management and pruning, key vineyard operations as well as tractor driving and use of vineyard machinery. The course will also incorporate a range of competency certificates, such as first aid and pesticide application.
The apprenticeship is work based and would require attendance at Plumpton Wine Division on block placements over the two-year period, during which accommodation will be provided making the course nationally accessible.
Jeremy Kerswell Principal of Plumpton College commented “With the UK wine industry going from strength to strength, it is actively seeking staff to establish and manage its vineyards, so the launch of this course is coming at a crucial time for the UK. We are delighted that we can now fulfil the needs of students wanting to study at Plumpton Wine Division that in the past haven’t been able to due to location. Plumpton College has taken the initiative by offering, alongside our graduate courses in Viticulture & Oenology, a practical-based viticulture course to train a future UK workforce through distance learning.”
“The college have recently developed national apprenticeship programmes with Tesco Booker, the National Trust and the RHS, and the Intention Is to give those employers who are interested the chance to help design the additional components of the programme and determine timeframes for blocks of study” Jeremy Kerswell concluded.
Simon Robinson, Chairman of WineGB commented: “We at WineGB fully support this fantastic initiative – this will open up many new opportunities for future entrants to our ever-growing industry.”
The programme would be fully funded for all 16-18 year olds and employers would also receive a £1,000 age incentive grant. If the apprentice is aged 19+, the employer only needs to make a 5% contribution for 19 +, and if the employer has a PAYE over £3m per annum, the full training fees are paid from their levy account. These fees and the training programme apply to either existing employees who wish to be trained or new recruits to the business.
The full cost of the apprenticeship is £15,000 with employer’s contribution being just £750.
For those producers who wish to express an interest please contact the Principal’s PA Tanya Mehmet [email protected] by the end of September. If anyone has any queries about it or would like to discuss it further prior to confirming their interest, they can contact, Hamish Dow. He can be contacted on T:01273 890454 or [email protected]