STUDENTS are being encouraged to consider following a career path into the Mornington Peninsula’s $200 million a year wine industry.
The industry group Mornington Peninsula Wine is working with members of a learning and employment network on “active vocational pathways” for students from the region’s 29 schools to work in the peninsula’s wine industry.
The move is designed to help overcome labour shortages in the wine industry.
Partnering with the Frankston and peninsula local learning and employment network (FMPLLEN), schools and students can take Vocational Education and Training Certificate (VET) courses in horticulture, viticulture or winemaking.
The courses include “hands-on” experience with peninsula wineries and vineyards and are aligned with changes being made to the state’s senior secondary certificate.
“A growing demand for agricultural graduates, restrictions on travel and access to skilled visa holders since the start of the pandemic, ongoing economic uncertainty, and a four per cent unemployment rate, has placed an intense strain on the wine industry’s labour market, as it has on many other agricultural industries,” Mornington Peninsula Wine CEO Olivia Barrie said.
She said the wine sector nationally directly and indirectly employed nearly 164,000 people “yet relies heavily on seasonal workers, including skilled international contractors to support the annual wine grape harvest and ongoing production needs”.
Barrie said Mornington Peninsula Wine’s effort to increase the intake of students to the industry included an awareness campaign for schools and career counsellors.
“The sector is experiencing labour and skills shortages, which is keenly felt across viticulture and vineyard management and more widely across winery, business and logistics also.
Industry engagement and structured workplace learning manager at FMPLLEN, Angela Byatt, said the program aimed to connect schools and students with industry.
“The state government’s focus on applied vocational learning pairs perfectly with this initiative and we know the schools and students are especially grateful for actual connections they are making in our community,” she said.
“This type of partnership empowers students with the confidence to explore wine and viticulture as a career option, and to network with the right people who might one day be a future employer, mentor or colleague.”
Launched in March, two vocational placements have already been made and several work experience students have participated in the grape harvest at various wineries in recent weeks.
For details call FMPLLEN on 8679 3422.