“It was the first logical step to start at farm level, and thanks to Vinpro's vineyard worker training package, which already included learning material, videos and assessments, we were able to easily integrate it on the platform," says Kachné Ross, manager of Winetech People Development.
The platform will be expanded over the next few years to also focus on winemaking, marketing and sales, as well as logistics and distribution.
Vinpro’s annual vineyard worker training programme has had 5,000 people hone their practical skills over the past seven years.
The physical training is based on a DVD training package, of which the 10 modules are now made available online. These include pruning, vineyard establishment, vine development, canopy management, soil management, identification of diseases and pests, irrigation, fertilisation, wine grape harvesting and soil science.
"People are the foundation of our industry, which is why it is important that we give them the opportunity to continuously expand their knowledge and skills," says Conrad Schutte, Vinpro’s consultation service manager.
"Understanding why and how they perform actions in a certain way gives them a sense of pride and responsibility in their work, which boosts productivity. This new convenient online platform gives learners the opportunity to work through the learning material at their own pace and at times that suit them."
The e-learning platform is made available to wine companies as a one-year license, and the cost varies depending on the number of employees registered per institution.
If a farm or cellar is interested in signing up their team on the e-learning platform, the team leader or farm manager can send an email to az.oc.hceteniw@sml. Following this, a training representative will contact them to explain the registration process and set a date for a physical “train the trainer” session, during which a Vinpro expert will provide them with all the necessary information on how the system works, and how the team leaders and teams can utilise the training together in the most efficient way.
Team leaders can then upload their team members to the system, after which each of them will gain access to the e-learning platform through their smartphone or computer and the vineyard teams can embark on their exciting new training journey. Team leaders, therefore, act as trainers who facilitate their own vineyard workers' learning under the guidance of the Vinpro training team.
Through the successful completion of the first group of workers' training, the team leaders will be registered with the SA wine industry's professional body, SAWIPB, as vineyard worker foremen, with special status and recognition.
In addition to the learning material and videos that teams can go through on their own or together, individuals can also complete short tests on each subsection within a module so that they and their team leader can keep track of their progress. Each person who successfully completes a module with an assessment above 80% receives an e-certificate that they can download and print, or keep on their profile should they need it in the future.