VinPro releases vineyard worker training package – a first for the wine industry

Thursday, 24 October, 2013
VinPro has just released a first for the South African wine industry – a video training package, Vineyard Practices for Vineyard Workers, which will enable wine producers themselves to present training at farm level.
“The training of vineyard workers is a critical success factor for all wine businesses,” said Rico Basson, VinPro managing director, during the launch of the training package. “Our aim with this initiative is to make an affordable, user-friendly and accredited training package available to producers, which will empower their workers and increase productivity.”

Vineyard Practices for Vineyard Workers is specifically targeted towards basic training of vineyard workers and foremen, and consists of ten modules that cover all aspects throughout the wine grape season, including: Pruning, Vineyard establishment, Vine development, Canopy management, Soil management, Disease and pest control, Irrigation, Fertilisation, Harvesting of wine grapes and Soil Science.

Each package includes ten DVDs – one for each module, of approximately 30 minutes each – along with a learner guide (electronic) that complements the video material with photos, illustrations and worksheets, and a facilitator guide (printed and electronic) that provides the trainer with guidelines on the most efficient use of the training material. The training material is suitable for illiterate workers.

“Producers and managers can therefore provide the training themselves at a time and place that suit them best,” said Johan Giliomee, manager of Transformation and Development who managed the project. After completing the training, application can be done for formal assessment by external assessors, organised via VinPro. The material is aligned with key sections of the AgriSeta NQF level 1 qualification for Plant Production and Farming.

The wine industry plays a significant role in terms of employment in the agricultural sector, with the primary sector alone employing close to 35 000 workers and labour representing 40% of wine producers’ input costs.

Minister Gerrit van Rensburg of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, speaking at the launch, welcomed the training initiative. “The National Development Plan describes ways in which the agricultural sector will create 1 million employment opportunities. However, we cannot deny the changing nature of agriculture – the days of unschooled manual labour are coming to an end and technical and specialised work will be the future of this sector. Training is the key for farm workers to adapt to this new facet of agriculture. I support VinPro’s training initiative – it will unlock enormous potential in our farm workers and create new opportunities for them to take on,” the Minister said.

According to Rita Andreas, chairperson of the National Farm Worker Forum, training gives farmworkers a passion and drive in their daily work. “It makes an enormous difference in the lives of farm workers not only to know that they have to do something, but also to know why they should do it – good practices lead to better wines that are sold at higher prices, from which both the producer and worker will benefit in the end,” she said during the launch.

“We believe that the VinPro Training Package is a crucial product for wine producers to not only empower their employees with new and improved skills, but also to enhance their own productivity and sustainability,” said Giliomee.

The do-it-yourself package is now available (only in Afrikaans) to the wine industry at R1 300 (VAT included), and at a discounted price of R950 (VAT included) to VinPro members.

Contact Johan Giliomee at 021 807 3304, for more information.

Speakers at the launch of the VinPro Training Package: Rico Basson (VinPro managing director), Minister Gerrit van Rensburg (Department of Agriculture Western Cape), Rita Andreas (National Farm Worker Forum) and Johan Giliomee (VinPro manager of Transformation and Development).