On 15 February, British High Commissioner Dame Judith MacGregor showed her continued support for youth development by opening her residence to students and supporters of the Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA). The sparkling event was a showcase for the talented young people that make the Academy a hub of excitement and learning in the Cape Winelands.
UK-based Dame Hilary Cropper Foundation is the proud founding partner of the Academy, whose mission is to develop talented, previously disadvantaged 18 – 25 year old youth and prepare them for meaningful employment. PYDA’s unique approach combines personal development skills with industry-specific vocational training and practical work experience, initially focusing on the wine industry. This totally integrated approach is producing a new generation of capable, confident young professionals who have a big picture view, grow fast in their careers and are making a real difference in their communities.
The Academy has achieved real change in the lives of the beneficiary group with over 150 students passing through its doors to date; of whom over 63% are women. An impressive 90% of all graduates are either employed or in further education after completing the programme and the Academy boasts a 95% retention rate across all its classes. With a challenging 75% pass rate or better for all modules, the graduates have demonstrated their determination, hard work and commitment.
It is the intention to expand the Academy beyond Wine into other business sectors and programmes focusing on both Wine Tourism and Fruit are currently under way.
Dame Judith MacGregor with Dame Hilary Cropper Foundation Chairman David Best (back row) and from left Wine Academy graduates Shannon Fortuin and Andisiwe Ketiwe and PYDA Programme Director Nikki Munro