Course to cultivate wine worker skills

The Central Otago wine industry looks set for a boost of qualified workers, thanks to Otago Polytechnic.

The tertiary institution is launching the Level 3 New Zealand certificate in cellar operations at its Central Campus in Cromwell in January.

The 17-week programme specialises in commercial wine cellar operations and is designed for people working in entry-level winery positions, or wanting to enter the wine industry.

Students will gain practical experience with off-site and workplace learning at sustainably accredited wineries.

Tuition fees and student levies will be covered under the targeted training and apprenticeship fund.

Otago Polytechnic cellar operations lecturer Dr Stephanie Lambert said while the wine industry supported more than 16,500 full-time jobs, it could be difficult to find the right people for the job.

‘‘It can be difficult to recruit the necessary skilled people locally, so it is great that the industry is supporting this initiative to train and upskill in our region,’’ Dr Lambert said.

The course would cover a broad perspective in New Zealand wine varieties, sensory evaluation and practical application, along with health and safety and team dynamics, she said.

‘‘The wine industry is innovative, collaborative and allows for many career pathways.’’

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