Pinotage Youth Development Academy - Launching Talent to be the Difference

On 19 May 2017 the Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA) celebrated the graduation of another group of talented young people into the wine industry.

The Wine Sector Programme is made possible through the continued support of generous donors, dedicated staff, an army of individuals who volunteer their time, energy and expertise and committed students who enter the programme ready to change their lives. This continues to be a success story that we never get tired of telling! We now have 102 graduates from the Wine Programme and 122 in total.

This is the 4th group to graduate from this 12 months intensive programme. The unique combination of personal development, technical training and practical training prepares talented young people between the ages of 18-25 for employment in the wine industry. This group had the added advantage of completing the WSET Level 2 course and 18 one of them qualified with this internationally recognized qualification.
We are very proud of these young people and we look forward to watching them fly!

Wine Tourism Programme

This is our pilot programme in Wine Tourism and runs from October 2016 to September 2017

Vocational Training
The students are making good progress in building their knowledge of the wine tourism sector. This course focuses on the “experience beyond the wine bottle” and includes the hospitality side, wine presenting and culinary arts. We are particularly excited about the tour guiding course which the students have recently started. This sees students doing classroom learning as well as initially being “tourists” in places they don’t usually visit, and ultimately practising guiding. The students will qualify as registered tour guides at the end of the programme. This will not only increase their employability but also give them the opportunity to start their own businesses.

Practical In-programme Work Placements
The group has completed two work placements already. Traditionally, the first placement lasts for one week and is acts as a rite of passage for the group. The second placement is a month long and focuses in wine tasting rooms. This is where the students embed their wine knowledge, grow more confidence, and get a real sense of the industry they are entering into. Some of the students have already secured part-time employment due to their good performance. This group had various opportunities for exposure learning by visiting different tourist sites in and around Stellenbosch. The highlight was when they had the opportunity to serve wine at a PYDA event hosted at the residence of the former British High Commissioner, Judith McGregor.

Personal Development
This remains the cornerstone of our programme and we are constantly innovating in this area to ensure our students grow in confidence along with ability. The wine tourism students have completed a number of the critical processes including the men’s and women’s camp and the diversity camp.

Graduate highlight: Nombulelo Gidimi

Nombulelo graduated in May 2016 and has just celebrated one year in the industry. She is currently working as a tasting room assistant at the KWV Sensorium in Paarl. When Nombulelo joined PYDA, she described herself as lazy, quick to blame others and lonely. After 12 months at PYDA she described herself as self-confident, independent and eager to make a difference.

Our favourite thing about Nombulelo is her persistence in getting things right. When she got a bad review for one of her placements she requested personal, detailed feedback and on top of that she asked for an opportunity to redeem herself. She ended up securing a weekend job at the same place and she has been permanently employed since graduation.

Nombulelo loves her family and she is passionate about giving her daughter a better life. Her commitment to her personal growth and her ability to win people over will continue serve her well in the future. She is an amazing example of what can happen when you place a talented young person in a nurturing and challenging environment aimed at bringing out the best in them.

We are growing!

The Programme
In April 2017 we launched a recruitment drive for the next Fruit Sector Programme. As always we get many applications of young people looking for an opportunity. After a stringent process which included a 2 day camp with 60 candidates, we chose the final 25 students. The programme commenced on 5 June 2017 and will run for 12 months until May 2018.
We will also start the recruitment for 50 students to join us in January 2018 for a 12 month Wine/Wine Tourism Programme. This means we will have 75 students by January 2018, a first for the Academy. We are excited to offer this amazing opportunity to more young people!

Return on social investment: impact and measurable change
Current Wine Tourism Programme: 21 students
Current Fruit Sector Programme: 25 students
Graduates to date (since May 2014): 122 (102 in Wine Sector)
Retention levels: 90%
Employment levels: +90% (at 6 months after graduation)
Broader impact (graduates only): 488
Statistics support the (conservative) view that 1 individual has an impact on at least 4 others within the graduate’s family/community.

The Staff
A passionate and competent staff complement is essential to the successful implementation of our programmes. In 2017 we were joined by 3 new staff members who joined our programme delivery team. Bongani Ndubata, Zukani Metshane and Phila Gidi all bring with them a passion for young people and a wealth of experience.

Funders and Supporters
None of this would be possible without the continued partnership of our funders and other supporters. We are enormously grateful for your contribution and our hope is that this relationship will continue to grow!

Lights, Camera, Action

Check out these awesome videos to learn more our programme and the impact on our students! 

Click here to read more (newsletter in pdf format).

Pinotage Youth Development Academy