As the centre of excellence for wine education, Plumpton College is introducing a brand new course designed for anyone who wants a career in vinegrowing. The Advanced Technical Certificate in Viticulture is the equivalent of an A Level, aimed at 16-18 year olds but is open to all ages. Contributor Tom Newham, Vneyard instructor – Plumpton College.
With the English wine industry going from strength to strength, it is actively and increasingly seeking staff to establish and manage its vineyards, so the launch of this course is coming at a crucial time for the UK.
Tom Newham, vineyard instructor at Plumpton College, comments: “With the rapid expansion of vineyard plantings in the UK, there is an increasingly high demand for skilled vineyard operatives. 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. Working through the academic year, students will focus on the seasonal practical aspects of running a vineyard”.
The programme will provide students with the core practical skills and knowledge that they will need to succeed in finding employment, or further learning and training, within vineyards, both in England and abroad. There is also the opportunity to progress on to the Plumpton College Foundation Degree in Wine Production if the entry requirements are met.
On the course students will learn a variety of skills including: how to work safely Tractor driving, and the use of other vineyard machinery; the fundamentals of plant biology and protection from pests and diseases; key vineyard operations, such as pruning, trellising and harvesting. There is also a work-placement requirement, which students can complete in local vineyards.
On top of the main course content students will be offered the opportunity to study for a range of NPTC Pesticide Application certificates along with brush cutter and forklift truck operators certificate.
The introduction of the new course follows Plumpton College’s recent collaboration with brand creation specialists Studio Parr, offering students the chance to design new labels for its Rock Lodge and Single Varietal ranges of still wines. Giving students more involvement in Plumpton wine production, this new annual competition saw the designs judged on April 18th before the winners were announced later that day.
Plumpton College is currently the only institution in England to offer wine courses at university level, including the only European undergraduate degree in wine production taught in English and a Master’s degree in viticulture and oenology. The full time Advanced Technical Certificate in Viticulture course launches at Plumpton College in September 2018, visit the website for entry requirements and to apply.