Standard Apprenticeship

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This Apprenticeship is designed to operate as the professional standard for people working as a vineyard operative in the UK wine industry.

A Vineyard Operative is responsible for carrying out operations relating to the establishment and management of vineyards in line with employer’s requirements. It is their job to ensure that vineyards are established according to best practice and that grapevines are managed all year round to ensure that a reliable, sustainable supply of high quality grapes are provided to wineries at harvest.

The vineyard is a complex and dynamic environment and apprentices will be taught, within an appropriate Health &Safety framework, to make and carry out informed decisions in key areas, including: vineyard establishment, pruning and trellis management, canopy management in spring and summer, pest and disease control, yield estimation and yield management, maturity estimation and harvesting, environmental sustainability, machinery and equipment use.

The skills required, along with underpinning theory, will be taught on the commercial Plumpton College vineyard at Rock Lodge in ten weekly blocks over a two-year period. These blocks will occur during ‘less busy times’ during the vineyard management calendar and be designed in so that apprentices will return to their employer’s vineyard/s and put into practice what they have learned. The weekly blocks will be supplemented with student use of the Plumpton College VLE (virtual learning environment) dedicated to the Viticulture Apprentice scheme.

The UK wine industry is rapidly expanding, in an unprecedented manner, and the need for technically trained effective vineyard operatives is at an all-time high. As well as this, there are many opportunities to work in a global industry with the skills acquired.

The course is based on the Level 3 Crop Technician Standard (, which is the recognised standard for operating in the sector. The standard sets out all the skills, knowledge and behaviours.

The Employer will, in conjunction with Plumpton College, develop a training plan, to discuss and monitor progress on the apprenticeship, provide feedback and guide development.

Regular checks between the employer and the training provider will take place to ensure that the Apprentice is on track to complete the learning and agree how any issues will be addressed.

A record of Off the Job Training – this is training that must occur for a minimum of 20% of the time the Apprentice is paid to work and is training delivered outside of their normal working duties – to develop a wider understanding of the industry.

Entry Requirements:

You will need an employer who would like to take you on as an apprentice. If you haven't found a suitable employer, we can offer you guidance on applying for jobs and interviewing techniques.

You will also attend college for a minimum number of set hours each week. 

You will have ideally have achieved GCSE grades A-E or equivalent. If you have an equivalent qualification, we will also take this into consideration, along with any industry experience you may have. 

Dates & Location:

January 2020

September 2020


24 Months


Non-levy paying employers will share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with government - this is called ‘co-investment’.

From April 2019, you will pay 5% towards to the cost of apprenticeship training and government will pay the rest (95%), up to the funding band maximum.

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