Growth and sustainability of skills for the UK wine industry
Plumpton College has been the sole innovator and developer of industry-led training and education programmes for the English wine industry since 1985. This progressive employer-college partnership has grown from foundation and degree programmes to an offer including a Master’s programme, industry CPD and more recently introductory-level wine academies and apprenticeships.
Ground-breaking work in the late 1980’s and 1990’s helped professionalise the industry when it was fledgling and struggling to produce the quality of vintage that could compete in an international market. In 2006, a period of rapid expansion occurred due to an increasing need for economic diversification on land estates, changing weather patterns favouring grape ripening and an economic push to increase product exports whilst reducing imports. Subsequently, through continual close working with wine employers and employer representative bodies, programmes have been regularly reviewed and updated through the college’s Wine Advisory Panels and Industry Liaison Boards to make sure they meet the sectors emerging technical and business needs.
Responding to employer demand for a production process to develop a high-quality English wine, the college’s own vineyard and winery has always been at the forefront of producing internationally award-winning sparkling wines. This resultant expertise, developed amongst our graduates, has led the way to create a real competitor to champagne and other sparkling wines. Currently, over 95% of wineries and vineyards across the UK employ staff who have been trained and educated at the college.
Innovation continues today with strategic support for wine tourism and the development of tourism implementation plans at regional scale.