Nikki Munro, Saija Kovalainen (Altia Finland) Bridgette Backman and Tamsyn Parkins (LR)
South Africa: Drostdy Hof is looking to jump-start the wine career of a promising young woman. The popular wine brand is collaborating with Stellenbosch-based Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA), an independent organisation that prepares disadvantaged young matriculants for jobs in the wine, tourism and allied sectors. Its holistic, year-long work-readiness programme includes technical and on-the-job learning, with a strong accent on personal development.
Apart from funding the core wine qualification facilitated by the University of Stellenbosch for 50 2019 students, Drostdy Hof will, together with the academy, hand-pick for additional post-qualification training, a single talented female from the group.
Identified for her combination of wine academic excellence, aptitude and inter-personal skills, the 2019 graduate will embark on a year-long internship to learn various aspects of the wine business from production and planning to marketing and sales. Her experience will include a four-week stint in Sweden, a key market for Drostdy Hof, where she will meet members of the country’s trade and its local wine lovers. Plus, the plan is for her to play a role in presenting wines at various consumer wine shows in South Africa. She may even be involved in developing a new wine for Drostdy Hof.
The PYDA graduate will spend 2020 interning with Drostdy Hof’s mother company, the Distell Group, South Africa’s biggest wine player that trades across the world. She will also be mentored by a handful of high-level executives, including Distell’s director of corporate and regulatory affairs, Bridgitte Backman.
Said Tamsyn Parkins who conceived the programme as part of Drostdy Hof’s wider social and eco-sustainability drive: “PYDA has an excellent track record and we believe it is the right partner in our goal to accelerate the career of a talented and deserving young woman.”
Working with students aged 18 to 25, PYDA has been in operation since 2012, supported by a range of local and international private sector funders and charity foundations. It structures its courses with input from the wine and tourism sectors to ensure appropriate learning. To date, over 90% of its graduates have been placed in jobs within six months of completing the course.
As part of their wine training, students are required to earn the internationally accredited WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) Level 1 certification. Those students choosing to make wine the primary focus of their study for the year, also have the opportunity to pass the WSET Level 2 course.
PYDA’s executive director, Nikki Munro, said: “Meaningful work for our graduates in demand-led industries is the fundamental outcome of our programme. That’s why are really excited to be able to offer this post-graduation career break to the right woman student. It is an exceptional learning opportunity. Judging by the calibre of our graduates – almost 200 to date – we expect excellent standards and that it will be a tough task to identify the single best candidate.”
Parkins, who is an international marketing manager for Distell, said Drostdy Hof had recently adopted Working Towards Sustainability as its brand promise. “We see the industry guidelines to promote social and eco-sustainability as a starting point from which to continually improve ourselves. We can’t afford to sit back. We must keep on exploring additional ways to enhance our social and eco-sustainability standards and credentials. It’s what we expect from ourselves and what wine lovers have the right to expect from us too.”