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Cape Winemakers Guild steps up cellar worker skills development

The Cape Winemakers Guild in partnership with Wine Training South Africa (WTSA) has stepped up initiatives to give cellar workers access to formal training and education that will unlock greater work opportunities for them in the wine industry.

The skills development programme for cellar workers is an extension of the highly successful Protégé Programme for aspiring winemakers and viticulturists and is integral to the Guild’s commitment towards transformation in the wine industry.

With the successful SETA accreditation funded by the Guild, WTSA is now a certified training provider and has begun a pilot programme with 6 cellar workers. All participants have completed SKOP 3, the third tier training module for cellar workers, and are now part of a 15 month programme working towards acquiring a National Certificate in Winemaking Level 3, a registered qualification under the National Qualifications Framework (NQF.) A mentor has been allocated to every learner for guidance and skills training in the work place for the duration of the learnership. Mentors include a former Guild Protégé, Tamsyn Jeftha, assistant winemaker for Boschendal. Gary Jordan, a longstanding member of the Guild, has also taken one of the learners under his wing at Jordan Wine Estate. 

In addition to the National Certificate in Winemaking Level 3, the WTSA is part of a national work group involved in the development of a new Assistant Winemaker Level 4 qualification.

Initiated by Elsenburg Cellar Technology students in 1987, the WTSA programmes empower cellar workers without formal winemaking training. The three-tier training modules, SKOP 1,2 & 3, essentially provide introductory, intermediate and advanced courses which are presented at Elsenburg Agricultural College as well as centres in various towns in the Boland and West Coast as well as the Northern and Southern Cape.

Over the past 28 years the WTSA programmes have produced numerous winemakers and assistant winemakers at leading cellars and with the Guild’s involvement, more opportunities are now being created for cellar workers who would otherwise not quality for formal training in winemaking.

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