Linamandla is a 21-year old from Franschhoek in the Western Cape, who has just landed his dream job as a Wine Advisor at Boschendal, one of the oldest and most prestigious wine farms in South Africa. He is there thanks to his time at the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which launches young talent through its intensive, full-time 12-month programme, preparing its students for work in the wine industry, as well as related sectors such as tourism and hospitality.
PYDA was set up by the UK’s Dame Hilary Cropper Foundation in 2013 for the benefit of previously disadvantaged 18-25 year olds with demonstrable talent but limited work prospects. The curriculum is custom-designed, combining the technical skills around the A-Z of wine and practical work placements with all-important personal development, which accounts for 40% of the learning. Its practices and policies reflect those of the workplace to prepare its graduates for a smooth transition into the world of work.
The Stellenbosch-based Academy boasts a student retention rate of 98%, with over 85% of its graduates either in work or further education. Its success has led to a new programme, sponsored by Tesco, teaching the technical aspects of fruit production and based on the Academy’s proven personal development model.
With over 150 students either having completed the programme or currently studying at the Academy, the Dame Hilary Cropper Foundation’s goal is to increase its impact. It aims to extend its geographical footprint and to expand into further agricultural sectors, offering opportunities for even more talented young South Africans to gain employment to the benefit of their families and broader communities.
When Linamandla joined the programme in June 2015, he was unemployed and described himself as “without hope”.
Today, he is a confident and ambitious young man with permanent employment at a world-renowned wine estate. “I look forward to making waves in the industry!” he says.
For more information, or to support the Academy’s work, please visit or contact Jilly Best, Trustee of the Dame Hilary Cropper Foundation