The Pinotage Youth Development Academy was established by The Dame Hilary Cropper Charitable Foundation (DHCCF), which commissioned a robust research project over an 18-month period in 2011 by UK's Henley Business School. Its study, drawing on face-to-face interviews with key industry stakeholders as well as desk research, showed that training provision in the Cape Winelands is very fragmented. A number of courses are available at university and college level, plus short courses for those already employed in the industry, but little beyond that. The opportunity was identified for a vocational training program introducing technical skills across the entire value chain of wine, from the vineyard to sales, combining both practical and theoretical learning. In addition, interviews with potential employers highlighted the need for personal development in the form of life skills, an important and often overlooked attribute of employability.
Further research, in consultation with key stakeholders, led to the design of a customized technical curriculum and a framework of methodologies to provide the psychosocial support essential for building personal capacity and self-belief among the beneficiary group. This led to the creation of the Pinotage Youth Development Academy.
The project is situated in Stellenbosch and services the surrounding areas of Franschhoek and Wellington, South Africa’s largest wine-producing area. The project targets 18-25 year olds and offers them a skills-based program to prepare them for wine-industry related roles that may otherwise have been unavailable to them. There are many young people in the area that have potential but there are barriers to entry for further study or skilled employment. A significant focus of the program is tapping into young people’s leadership potential in their community, as well as soft skills.
The first cohort of 25 students was recruited through community-based sessions and by building relationships with the school principals in the area. A matriculation (Grade 12) certificate is a criterion for entering the program, and the candidates go through an interview process and attend a leadership camp.
The 12-month program is designed around the lifecycle of the vine, so that practical apprenticeships and experiential learning form the basis of the curriculum. The students cover content that relates to the agricultural science in wine production and business-related elements such as marketing and distribution. Key to the program are the partnerships with wine farmers in the local area who offer placements and who often go on to employ many of the students post-placement. There are currently 17 workplace partners. Graduates receive a qualification validated by Winetech, the industry body responsible for providing technical training and disseminating research data.
The program design is not based on a traditional academic year but reflects business cycles and typical employment holiday allowances. Student allowances are paid based on performance, and the academy enforces workplace processes and policies.
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CEI approaches in actionDeliveryStand-alone school/centerStudent supportSkills for Work21st century skills (soft skills)
Model details2012Not-for-profitVocational/technical skills21st century skills (soft skills)ActiveLong-term projectScholarships5035%65%
The project specifically targets school leavers from the local rural community. It identifies students for the program by asking for recommendations from principals in low-income community schools. There are also workshops held in community spaces, including town halls and police stations. During the recruitment process, the project takes into account an applicant's household income when making a decision to have the student join the program.
Scale1There is a facilitator that supports the students through curriculum and placements. Additional lecturers and workshops are outsourced to individual experts. 1One main center is operational. There are 17 work placements on local farms.April, 2014
The first cohort of students graduated in 2014, and the next cohort of 25 have been recruited and will graduate in 2015. Additional academic support and tutoring were incorporated into the program to help stupport the students who were struggling with math and science concepts.
There are plans to increase the number of students enrolled over time. The strategy is to double and eventually triple the class size. Sufficient classroom space has already been secured for 75 students, and the outsourced training providers and practical placement farms and wineries have been identified. However, the plans mainly focus on fine-tuning the program, which continues to emphasize the support given to a smaller group, rather than simply reaching higher numbers. The Pinotage project has been approached to adapt the model to other agricultural sectors such as fruit farming.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
The Academy’s monitoring and evaluation framework includes the following components:
- Work readiness and the ability to earn sustainably: The Academy’s goal is that at least 80% of graduates are placed and earning sustainably within 6 months of completing the program; career growth and development will be monitored through the alumni process.
- Student assessment (technical and behavioral): These include hard measures such as absenteeism, disciplinary event levels, and a 75% pass rate; on-going behavioral change, measured through weekly and monthly student reporting and quarterly performance reviews conducted by the staff with each student individually. A component of this is a peer review per team. This is supplemented by observation and anecdotal evidence. Behavioral impact at a family and community level, measured twice during the program through the submission of letters describing the change in the student. This longer-term measure will continue through the alumni program.
- Program evaluation and assessment: This incorporates both qualitative and quantitative assessments including structured facilitator and coach feedback, review processes with work placement partners, formalized student reporting regarding all program components; there is also an annual student retention rate of 80% or better.
Graduation or promotion ratesEmployment ratesStudent attendanceStudent retentionCost effectiveness/value for moneyMonthlyNo
Many graduates have experienced the (usual) high levels of conflict in the workplace and have used skills they learned at the Academy to resolve issues.
Three months after the program, 21 of the 24 graduates (87.5%) were employed. Five months after the program, 100% of graduates were employed.
96% of Year 1 (June 2013 - May 2014) graduated. 100% of students attained a 75% pass rate or better for all modules.
Cost per student has been reduced from approximately R60,000 to R40,000.