Media Release from Otago Polytechnic
13 November 2008
Record number of viticulture students good news for wine industry
In a boost to the local wine industry, a record 45 students are participating in Central Otago Polytechnic’s viticulture
programme this year.
Nick Mills, President of Central Otago Winegrowers Association (COWA) said he was thrilled about the number of students
coming through the programme.
“This is great news for the wine industry. It means we’ll potentially see a lot of educated and highly skilled people
entering the industry - many applying their talents locally.
“We have enjoyed a strong relationship with the Polytech for some time now and we’ll continue to work with them in
growing the industry into the future. We really appreciate the support we get from them, it’s fantastic.”
Raewyn Paviour, Lecturer at Otago Polytech said the success of the course was an example of what could be achieved when
industry and training facility worked together.
“Our work as a polytech has to be relevant to our students and to their career paths which means we need to have a good
understanding of what the industry needs from our qualifications. We also need to be aware of how students can finance
their studies and how we can recognise work they’ve already done in a given industry.
“We use a process called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) which allows us to credit students for prior experience or
education and enables us to offer a more flexible programme.”
Ms Paviour said the Polytechnic had also recently modified the course so that students could remain working full time
and study towards their qualification through a fully supported e-learning distance programme, rather than attend a full
“This way students can start whenever they like throughout the year and can literally be anywhere in the world. Most of
our students work locally, but we do have others in Gisborne, Waipara and Australia.
“Many of our diploma students work as supervisors or managers in vineyards while they’re studying. It’s a cost effective
way for them to gain their qualification and they love the real life hands-on approach to learning.
“Approximately half of our apprentices in the certificate level course have expressed a wish to continue on with their
studies and complete their Diploma in Viticulture.”