The Province is providing over $628,000 to support a two-year pilot project for the viticulture technician diploma program at Okanagan College, developed in partnership with the BC Wine Grape Council.
Penticton MLA Dan Ashton made the announcement today at Poplar Grove Winery on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. The pilot project will see 20 students begin their studies this fall toward a two-year viticulture technician diploma.
The diploma is designed to provide hands-on, theoretical and practical knowledge that will allow students to eventually work as part of a vineyard management team. The program is structured around the viticulture growing season, providing opportunities to develop and apply skills like: canopy management, pest control, pruning, training vines and sensory evaluation, as well as occupational health and safety.
Viticulture is a growing part of B.C.'s agrifoods sector and a key part of the BC Jobs Plan, helping to diversify and strengthen the province’s economy. The agrifood sector’s performance has exceeded the projections the Province set out for it in the first agrifood and seafood strategy. Agrifoods in B.C. employs more than 62,900 people throughout the province.
The diploma was supported through the Sector Labour Market Partnerships (LMP) Program, which helps to ensure that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities. The B.C. government is committed to investing in and supporting its rural communities to ensure those communities’ have a skilled and educated workforce ready for the in-demand jobs of the future.
Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton –
“The agrifoods sector is continuing to exceed growth expectations, and the Province wants to ensure that our future generations have the skills and training that B.C. needs for the in-demand jobs of the future. The viticulture technician program will provide hands on learning opportunities and practical knowledge that will meet the specific needs to help this industry continue to grow successfully.”
Jim Hamilton, president, Okanagan College –
“The wine industry is one of the economic engines of our region, and we know that the renowned B.C. wine quality begins in the vineyards. We’re very pleased that we have been able to work with the industry and with the support of the province to further develop the career-focused programming that will serve its needs and the best interests of our students.”
Lynn Bremmer, chair, BC Wine Grape Council –
“Having experts from our industry help shape the curriculum and the program itself will mean that students are well prepared for important roles in our vineyards and businesses when they complete the diploma. Just as viticulture and wine-making have progressed and matured in recent years in B.C., so too is the education and training that is available here. Government support and the college’s efforts are truly appreciated.”
Lynsey Hayes, recent Viticulture Certificate graduate and prospective student in first intake of Viticulture Technician Diploma –
“I was really excited when I learned that Okanagan College would be offering a two-year diploma in Viticulture Technology this September. I’ve just completed the college’s viticulture certificate program and I’m eager to further my education and be a part of the growing B.C. wine industry. Hats off to the college, the Province and the industry for putting this together.”
- The B.C. wine industry’s $2.8 billion economic impact is a significant driver of the province’s economy.
- More than 12,000 people throughout the province have jobs as a result of the wine industry.
- B.C. wineries welcome over one million visitors a year, generating over $476 million in tourism-related economic impact.
- B.C.’s Agrifoods sector accounts for $4.3 billion of the province’s GDP and exports $3.5 billion in products.
To find out more about the Viticulture Technician Program, visit: http://webapps-5.okanagan.bc.ca/ok/Calendar/viticulture-technician-diploma
To learn more about career planning and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, visit: www.workbc.ca/blueprintbuilder
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan
To learn more about the BC Wine Grape Council, visit: http://www.bcwgc.org/
To learn more about the B.C. Agrifood and Seafood strategy, visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/strategic-growth-plan.pdf