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New Initiatives in Education at NMIT

26 Mar 2013

Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), a sponsor of the festival, will introduce new training initiatives for people working in the wine industry in the Ararat region over the next few months.

The Institute is offering workplace-based, on the job training in a range of vocational programs for students unable to access its Ararat campus.

The programs include studies in Certificate III in Food Processing (Wine) in viticulture, cellar operations, cellar door operations, packaging operations and laboratory operations.

It can also offer short courses in winemaking and wine evaluation.

The initiatives have been designed to provide direct, applied learning to students with programs customised to meet individual students' needs in their own particular workplace.

NMIT Viticulture & Winemaking teacher Chris Wells, who has spent nearly four decades working in the wine industry in South Australia and Victoria, said it was much easier for students to understand the theory with practical application of their skills by teaching them on-the-job.

'They can relate what they're learning on a day to day basis at work, as the training they receive is tailored to meet their employment needs,' Chris added.

He said the training offered at the workplace included all the programs offered at the campus and involved flexible delivery to accommodate the working schedules of the students.

The Ararat campus of NMIT has a 28-hectare vineyard where its produces both red and white wine varieties.

For Chris, who has a bachelor degree in Applied Science (Winemaking) from Charles Sturt University as well as a laboratory technician certificate and Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, studying at the workplace is one of the best ways to learn the knowledge and skills needed in the industry.

Starting work in the wine industry in the Barossa Valley in the late 1960s, Chris acquired his formal qualifications as he worked on the job.

'I left school without my VCE and all my learning was achieved as a mature age student on the job through distance education and in the workplace.

'It suited me as I could relate it to my roles at work and directly apply what I was learning.'

Chris initially worked as a laboratory technician in the Barossa Valley for the Seppelts Company and later moved to Great Western in Victoria. He moved up to become a chemist at the Rutherglen Winery, where he also supervised the laboratory and winery during vintage. He also worked at the Griffith Winery as a one-man band during its vintage, before returning to Rutherglen and then moving back to Great Western.

He has held a number of managerial and teaching roles throughout his career in the industry.

He is joined at NMIT's Ararat campus by Ben Peitch, who is the vineyard operator and supervisor.

NMIT also offers a three-year, specialist bachelor degree in viticulture & winemaking at its Epping campus as well as a range of viticulture & winemaking courses.

Course Inquiries: NMIT Ararat Campus Tel: 53553501 or NMIT in Melbourne Tel: (03) 9269-1042

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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on 03 9269 1579, 0413 483 182 or

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.