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Job Shadowing Opportunity for Viticultural Trainers
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Vitimalta, a producer organisation established in Malta since 2006, is implementing this project for the benefit of the national viticultural scene. Especially as the over 300 members of Vitimalta represent 90% of all Maltese and Gozitan wine production. For this project, Vitimalta will be collaborating with a private company titled Vivai Mannone, established in Sicilly since the 1970s, this company is renowned for its quality of vine material and for its use of the latest methods and the most advanced technologies in the field of viticulture. The project entails sending 10 viticulturists who are active in Vitimalta's VET Training Department for a 5 day job shadowing experience. 5 participants will go to Italy in July 2015 during the harvesting period and another 5 participants will go in March 2016 during the grafting period. The methodology for this job shadowing experience is one which focuses on a hands-on and learning by doing approach experience. The need to implement the project arose because of the: 1) Lack of educational background of farmers in Malta (these also include viticulturists) This is due to the fact that the educational backgrounds of farmers in Malta, the majority being 78.9% of the farming population have gained their knowledge on the subject via practical experience. In fact, only 3.8% of the total workforce declared to have undergone 'basic' training or 'full agricultural' training whilst the remaining did not declare their educational background (Agricultural Census 2001). This contrasts sharply with the 17.5% of EU 15 farmers with basic and full education attained. It was only in 1993 with the setting up of the Institute of Agriculture by the University of Malta, and recently with the establishments of the agri-business institute by the Malta College of Science and Technology, that agriculture ventured into the tertiary education level. This is also the case with the over 300 viticulture members with Vitimalta, most of whom have obtained practical experience throughout the years but lack an educational background. This is one of the main objectives of the project, so that thanks to this project the trainers from the VET department will be able to offer a more structured CPD programme for our members. 2) Lack of qualified teaching personnel The lack of educational background in the farming sector leads to lack of qualified teaching personnel. For this reason another objective of this project is to further train and provide opportunities for the trainers at Vitimalta VET Department. Thanks to this job shadowing opportunity, these trainers will enhance their skills on viticulture and will be able to improve the training they offer to Vitimalta members. 3) Viticulture does not attract the younger generation Another need for this project is to be able to provide training on viticulture to the younger generation. The more people working in the VET Department of Vitimalta the easier it will be to organise training and information sessions on the subject of viticulture. The objective of Vitimalta is that participants of the job shadowing experience will be able to disseminate information to MCAST agri-business students. 4) Lack of cooperation with other organisations Another need is to promote cooperation with other foreign organisations. Normally viticulturists tend to work on their own and are not exposed to modern practices and/or are not kept updated with new innovations of systems in the field. For this reason this project seeks to continue to bridge the gap with other European organisations. 5) Limited training courses on viticulture Although Vitimalta is already offering training courses on viticulture we have embarked on this project as there is the need to implement more structured and tailor-made courses that would combine a theoretical and a practical approach. The objective is that following this job shadowing opportunity, the 10 participants from Vitimalta in collaboration with the partner organisation will develop a long-term training programme for the members of Vitimalta, targeting especially grafting techniques. The project will seek to equip the 10 participants from Vitimalta with more skills to be able to improve the training offer for Vitimalta members and also to be able to provide a more structured training model for Vitimalta. As a long-term result Vitimalta aims at strengthening relations with European organisations so as to develop a European project which lead to a an accreditation of viticulture courses for the Vocational Education and Training Sector across the European Union.

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