The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Otago Polytechnic grows viticulture programme

Otago Polytechnic has announced a new programme pathway aimed at refining wine-growing and fruit production skills.

Designed for those already working in the horticulture and viticulture fields, the New Zealand Diploma in Horticulture Production (Level 5) is organised to accommodate the rhythms of the seasons, so in-work learners can concentrate their energy where it’s needed during peak times.

Delivered online and run at night, it enables learners to continue to develop their skills in two focus areas:

  • Fruit Production: stone fruit, pip fruit and berries (orchard)
  • Wine Growing: wine grapes (vineyard)

Upon graduation, learners will be able to manage horticultural or viticultural operations to ensure fruit or wine grape quality requirements are met.

The programme builds on a suite of tailored learning options in Central Otago, where Otago Polytechnic works closely with industry partners to provide work-based learning that supports the region’s industries.

“Our close connections with the local industry have helped hugely in developing a pathway that works, ensuring the students are engaged and expanding on their learning alongside experienced industry leaders,” says Rachel Petrie, Senior Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic.

“For example, there are currently 40 in-work learners studying our NZ Certificate in Horticulture (Fruit Production, level 4). All are employed locally on commercial orchards or vineyards – predominantly in the Central Otago region.

“Their backgrounds are diverse and include supervisors, machinery operators, assistant managers, packhouse operators, staff in organic and biodynamic operations, general horticulture staff, winery hands, and technicians,” Rachel says.

“There is a world of opportunities for careers in the fast-growing horticulture and viticulture industries.”

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