Plumpton College pupil and England’s first vineyard apprentice is ready to move into the commercial world of viticulture after completing his two years of training.
Jacob Evans was the first person to take advantage of the college’s provision to include a viticulture pathway, which builds on the rapid expansion of the English wine industry and addresses the lack of qualified vineyard staff.
During his time at Plumpton College, Jacob learned a wide range of viticultural skills and now has a solid foundation from which to launch his career.
Owing to his training, he now has hands-on experience of all essential vineyard operations, including harvest, winter pruning, trellis establishment and repairs, and has become a competent tractor driver.
Alongside these vinegrowing skills, Jacob has also completed a City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in horticulture, a qualification that will equip him for a range of career paths.
Jacob said: “I didn’t realise how many different jobs there were to do in a vineyard. It’s hard work but I have really enjoyed learning them. After I get some more experience, I would like to be a vineyard supervisor or even a manager.”
A spokesperson from Plumpton College said: “We wish Jacob the best of luck for the future.”
Plumpton College Wine Department now has an established apprenticeship programme for its 10-hectare vineyard, and will be taking on apprentices annually onto the two-year course so there is continuity of staff and training. The next apprentice will be appointed in September.
Other employers wishing to take on more staff via the apprenticeship scheme can qualify for a grant of £1,500 for each apprentice.
For more information, visit www.plumpton.ac.uk.
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