A Vineyard Academy to hone the youths agriculture skills has opened its doors in the Northern Cape. It also aims to expose the province’s agricultural sector to global competitors.
Table grapes from the Northern Cape get exported to Europe and the United Kingdom. It creates around 50 000 jobs annually in the Orange River area, whilst contributing R6 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Vineyard Academy, a first for the province aims to address human resource capabilities and the skills gap, says the Chief Executive officer of Raisins SA, Ferdie Botha.
“For us the starting point is we want to remain internationally competitive within our space in the rising space specifically and it terms involving youth. I think the Vine Academy brings it closer to our communities. We are very far from main centres of South Africa, Cape Town, Johannesburg 700 and 800 kilometres away so I think making upskilling and education more accessible to the youth.”
The Northern Cape’s MEC for Agriculture, Mase Manopole is optimistic about the academy potential to increase the GDP contribution.
“So this academy is going to help us to be able to push us to be even able to elevate the current percentage that agriculture is contributing to the GDP. So those are the things that we realised that we have been helping our small scale farmers with funding. But there are still struggles with the skills. Even to develop themselves further.”
Prospective students like Jayden Niewenhuisen and John D April say their passion will steer their goals and improve their knowledge of the industry.
“It’s a great opportunity. I feel I can improve my life and I have passion for agriculture and I like to express myself especially when I am doing practicals something I feel like and I enjoyed it,” Niewenhuisen says.
“I believe it’s a great opportunity for people to come because it’s a great opportunity I saw as opportunity to improve my knowledge of farm industry,” adds April.
The Vine Academy courses is registered with the South African Qualifications Assurance body. In supporting sustainable growth in the argriculture sector, projects like the Vine Academy will help to develop new leaders for the industry.
Northern Cape opens first-ever vineyard academy: