Plumpton College is seeking UK wine producers that are keen to take part in its 2021 apprenticeship programme.

Following on from the success of the first cohort of 10 nationwide apprentices, Plumpton College said it plans to run its 2021 programme in the early part of next year.

Delivered on a national basis, the apprenticeship will start at the beginning of March 2021. A blended delivery model has been created to provide apprentices with online theory teaching mixed with attendance at Plumpton Wine Division on 10 block placements, over a two-year period, and is designed around the seasonal requirements and tasks of a vineyard. Apprentices also get their PA1 + PA3 certificates as well as First Aid at Work and onsite accommodation is also available meaning the programme is national accessible.

Jeremy Kerswell, Principal of Plumpton College, said: “The benefits of training an employee via an apprenticeship scheme is that the Government will contribute at least 95% of the cost of the training which means that an employer would benefit from their apprentice receiving £15,000 worth of viticulture training and assessment for a maximum of £750.”

He continued: “We are delighted with how well the pilot viticulture apprenticeship scheme has run, particularly during a time that has been so difficult for so many. We developed this program specifically to meet the needs of the sector and worked closely with Wine GB and Land-based sector bodies to ensure the program met the identified local economic and skills priorities. Thanks to the successes of the first cohort, we are once again ready to work with vineyards across the UK.”

Dr Greg Dunn, Head of Plumpton Wine Division said: “We dedicate an industry of experienced tutors and assessors including guest speakers to enhance the apprentice’s learning experience. This innovative and agile approach to delivery with both practical training at the college’s vineyard alongside online theory teaching and progress reviews via Microsoft Teams is an excellent combination to train a future UK workforce.”

Kerswell said: “For Producers looking to recruit, there is also the opportunity to identify potential suitable employees (apprentices) through engaging with Plumpton’s Viticulture Re-training Programme, an intensive two-week introduction programme developed with the Department of Work and Pensions to provide training and employment opportunities to those who are currently unemployed due to Covid-19. Additionally, our Apprenticeship Recruitment and Talent Bank Service is available and free to any business looking to grow their future workforce via an apprenticeship scheme.”