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PYDA was founded in 2012 as the Pinotage Youth Development Academy with the goal of developing talented youth with historically disadvantaged backgrounds for employment in the wine sector and related industries. Our first Wine Sector programme ran from June 2013 - May 2014.


Two years of upfront research and stakeholder analysis determined employer needs and identified training gaps for young South Africans. Our curriculum is custom-designed to meet industry-specific needs and is constantly reviewed to ensure this. The practice of personal development is our differentiator and it brings sustainable change to our students. 


In November 2015, in response to a request from major UK retailer Tesco, the Academy launched a pilot programme in the fruit sector. This programme was held in the Grabouw region of the Western Cape, and 20 students graduated with an NQF Level 5 in Agri-Sales and Service Management in August 2016. All 20 graduates found employment within two months of graduation.


Our continued industry research presented us with the need to expand our wine programme to also include tourism. Thus, the first Wine and Tourism programme was launched in November of 2016. This class focuses on everything in the wine industry: from harvesting the grapes to working in a tasting room and beyond.

SINCE 2016

Since 2016, we have continued offering both our Wine Tourism and Fruit Sector programmes. Due to the popularity of the programme and the success of our graduates, we decided to offer two Wine Tourism classes simultaneously starting in January 2018. Currently, we have 75 students enrolled at the Academy.


It is our intention to keep growing and increasing our impact on both our students and the system as a whole. As such, we continue researching different industries to ensure that we grow into areas where young people can secure meaningful employment. Our ability to adapt and innovate supports our continued success.

The Pinotage Youth Development Academy was the inspiration of The Dame Hilary Cropper Foundation, a UK based organization that provides education and support to young, disadvantaged South Africans. In addition to providing research, development, and set-up costs for the Academy, the Foundation has also provided PYDA with financial support since our start. Our unique partnership continues with a focus on innovation and sustainability.

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