SA industry body Vinpro, Winetech launches e-learning platform for vineyard employees

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa based wine industry organisation Vinpro and industry body Winetech People Development, have launched an e-learning platform through which South African wine industry vineyard workers can hone their skills.

The online platform, developed by Winetech People Development, aims to offer top-quality training to people from across the wine industry value-chain in a simple and accessible format.

The platform will be expanded over the next few years to also focus on winemaking, marketing and sales, as well as logistics and distribution.

“People are the foundation of our industry, which is why it is important that we give them the opportunity to continuously expand their knowledge and skills.

“Understanding why and how they perform actions in a certain way gives them a sense of pride and responsibility in their work, which boosts productivity,” says Vinpro Consultation Service manager Conrad Schutte.

“This new convenient online platform gives users the opportunity to work through the learning material at their own pace and at times that suit them,” he notes.

“The logical first step is to start at farm level and, thanks to Vinpro’s vineyard worker training package, which already included excellent learning material, videos and assessments, we were able to easily integrate it on the platform,” says Winetech People Development manager Kachné Ross.

Vinpro’s yearly vineyard worker training is well known in the wine industry, with more than 5 000 people having honed their practical skills over the past seven years. The physical training is based on a digital video disc training package, of which the ten modules are now made available online.

The modules include pruning, vineyard establishment, vine development, canopy management, soil management, identification of diseases and pests, irrigation, fertilisation, wine grape harvesting and soil science.

In addition to the learning material and videos that teams can go through on their own or together on the new platform, individuals can also complete short tests on each subsection within a module so that they and their team leader can keep track of their progress.

Each person who successfully completes a module with an assessment above 80% receives an e-certificate that they can download and print, or keep on their profile should they need it in the future.

Further, the e-learning platform is made available to wine companies as a one-year licence, and the cost varies depending on the number of employees registered per institution, Schutte notes.

The South Africa wine and brandy is on a sustainable growth path, with a repositioned strategy and renewed focus.

According to the annual South African Wine Harvest Report, the 2022 wine grape crop is estimated at 1, 378, 737 tonnes, 5.5% smaller than the 2021 crop, but still larger than the five-year average of 1, 346, 024 tonnes.

The decline in production is due to the uprooting of vines, disease pressure and occasional sunburn to plants as a result of heatwaves in some areas.

To this end the new e-learning platform is key to equip the stakeholders with the right skills aimed to boost production.

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