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Celebrating Inaugural Success at NMIT

05 Mar 2007

The inaugural year of the viticulture & winemaking bachelor degree at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) was a resounding success in 2006 as students achieved great results and acknowledged that studying at a TAFE institute proved to be exactly what they wanted with its focus on practical and hands-on experience.

According to Foundation Senior Lecturer Helen Waite, the students integrated the practical skills gained at NMIT's 10-hectare Eden Park vineyard and 100-tonne Epping campus winery into their academic studies, enabling them to obtain work experience in the industry during the year.

'The purpose of the course is to produce graduates with a strong science background but also well-developed practical skills with the ability to integrate these skills with the science and other theory,' Helen said.

'This combination of knowledge and expertise will enable them to work very effectively in the international wine industry as leaders who can think creatively about wine.'

As well as attending lectures, the students engaged in numerous wine tastings around Melbourne and its environs and visited vineyards to gather first-hand experience of grape and wine production.

'While they studied subjects such as soils science and chemistry, they were also involved in learning to taste wine and identify distinctive flavours, appreciate the positive and negative aspects of wine and learn about different grape varieties and wine styles produced around the world.

'The first year was a foundation year which introduced students to the science behind grape and wine production and its application to practical knowledge and experience,' Helen said.

She added that while some of them initially thought the course might not have the depth or rigor of a university program, they said it had surpassed their expectations.

'As they start their second-year, they are more enthusiastic than they were, and NMIT's reputation to deliver what's needed is growing with more students enrolled this year to embark on the course.'

Helen said NMIT's strong desire to keep tuition personal enabled the course to include studies and experience that wouldn't be possible with bigger groups.

'This enables us to interact individually with the students and allow them direct contact with staff. This is critical to our vision of the course when we started and the students enjoy the opportunities for things that can't be achieved within a traditional university paradigm.'

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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) – Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne’s north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce.  NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.