New Zealand School of Winegrowing kicks off next year after funding from wine industry

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan's push for a wine school for secondary students has become a ...
RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan's push for a wine school for secondary students has become a reality thanks to funding from the industry.

A school for high school students to learn the ins and outs of winemaking and viticulture will start next year after funding was found to get the project off the ground.

Marlborough Boys' College and Marlborough Girls' College have been working together for the past two years to develop the 'New Zealand School of Winegrowing'.

The school will cater to students sitting NCEA level two, taking traditional subjects like English, chemistry and economics and teaching them in a winegrowing context.

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan, who has pushed the concept, said it was fantastic the wine industry had recognised the value of the idea.

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"There's a limited amount of land left to the industry to grow, so now it's going to come down to people - that's what the industry is crying out for," Ryan said.

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan, Marlborough Grape Producers Co-operative general manager Craig ...
RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal James Ryan, Marlborough Grape Producers Co-operative general manager Craig Howard, Marlborough Girls' College deputy principal Jo Chamberlain, Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty, and Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens are all supporters of the New Zealand School of Winegrowing.

The school would provide students with career pathways in grape growing and wine production roles with on-the-job training, mentoring and work placement.

The Marlborough Grape Producers Co-operative were early backers of the idea, providing seed funding for the colleges to develop a business case for the school.

New Zealand Winegrowers have stepped in with a $50,000 grant, as well as additional support from the local industry body Wine Marlborough.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said the support for the project reflected a "desire to bring our community into our industry".

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And while the school would not "solve the problem" of a shortage of skilled workers, it was definitely a "very valuable stepping stone" to encourage young people into work.

Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty said providing vocational context around subjects like chemistry would give them more meaning for some students.

"[This] is the first course that will suit the new co-located schools, this is what we are looking to develop over the coming years," he said.

"We will be looking to develop the second year in 2018 which will allow students to gain University Entrance to commence in 2019."

Marlborough Girls' College deputy principal Jo Chamberlain said the college was enthusiastic about the potential of the New Zealand School of Winegrowing.

The school would initially be based at Marlborough Boys' College, with an intake of about 20 students in the first year.

 - The Marlborough Express

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