B.C. provides more than $600,000 to support new viticulture diploma at Okanagan College

Source: Flickr - by Matthew Peoples. Wine. A glass of wine I was drinking while visiting some wineries in Fredericksburg, TX

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.

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