Pinotage Youth Development Academy

Pinotage Project is a work skills and leadership program to help school leavers enter the workforce in the Western Cape region of South Africa.
2012South Africa

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
DeliveryPinotage Youth Development AcademySkills for WorkPost-secondary non-tertiary

Location Data

Western CapeStellenboschRural

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. Around graduation (end of May), the industry is in its quietest period, which poses a challenge for new entries. The financial challenges of a job search remain a prohibitive factor.

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